This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing September 2017. It aims to provide an overview of the large trends in Canadian political economy. Text in square brackets [ ] is by Roger Annis. The most recent entries are at top of the list. Beginning April 2018, headlines in red denote articles by Roger Annis. These are published on the website main page and also listed in their respective subject categories. For months preceding November 2018, use the dropdown menu in ‘News pages archives’ in the listing of website categories. To find past stories on this and other news pages on the website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser.
Canada newsroll on A Socialist In Canada, January 2019
Report by G7 agency says money laundering through British Columbia casinos and housing market is five times higher than previously reported, some one billion dollars per year, by Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press, Jan 18, 2019 The NDP government elected in 2017 says the scale of the criminal enterprises has been hidden from it by the federal government and the RCMP.
The Catholic Church needs to do more than apologize over residential schools, by Tanya Talaga, Indigenous issues columnist, Toronto Star, Jan. 17, 2019
Related: Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle sends troubling signals to Indigenous communities, by Tanya Talaga, Indigenous issues columnist, Toronto Star, Jan. 14, 2019 …The signal the prime minister’s January 14 cabinet shuffle sent clearly shows his attention has waned.Not only did he shuffle Jane Philpott from Indigenous Services, a portfolio where the medical doctor has worked hard to gain the respect of Indigenous leaders, but he also demoted his most senior First Nations cabinet member, outgoing justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who had been in a crucial position to help build a new relationship with Indigenous peoples.Then he moved Seamus O’Regan, a seemingly unknown quantity in much of the Indigenous community, into Philpott’s job.It is an odd choice, one that caused eyebrows across the country to lift…
Canada’s online journal The Bullet breaks its silence on Ukraine. Not really. [The online Canadian journal The Bullet has maintained a studied silence for the past five years on the new cold war being waged against Russia and increasingly against China by the U.S. government and its partners in crime in the NATO military alliance. An article published in The Bullet on January 18, 2019 appears to break the silence. The article is titled ‘Why does no one care that neo-Nazis are gaining power in Ukraine?’. In fact, the article merely voices the unease felt by some international publications with ascendance of the extreme right in Ukraine, all the while ignoring the ominous storm clouds surrounding the rising militarism of the imperialist powers (the real imperialist powers, not the make-believe ‘Russian’ or ‘Chinese’ imperialism). The article in The Bullet was first published three weeks ago in Forward, which is published in the U.S. and describes itself as ‘Jewish, fearless, since 1897’. The Forward writer makes no mention of the NATO military presence in Ukraine nor its military support to the Ukrainian military and the extreme-right paramilitaries which are part of the command structure of the Ukrainian armed forces. He repeats all the familiar tropes which ignore the NATO-supported, right-wing coup which took place in Ukraine in February 2014. The writer offers a rehashed, pro-Western conspiratorial view of what has taken place in Ukraine: “And no, I haven’t forgotten that Ukraine is still mired in a Russian-orchestrated war on part of its territory, and that Moscow likes to use Ukrainian nationalists in its propaganda – part of its longstanding practice of painting all Ukrainians, nationalists or not, as “Nazis” (not true), or as supporters of Nazi-era collaborationist movements that were active in some parts of Ukraine (also not true). I also don’t doubt that the Kremlin itself funds or supports some of the far-right agitation here [in Ukraine] so that it can use them for its own purposes…”
Ukraine rewrites history by celebrating World Wat Two-era Nazi collaborator, commentary by Scott Taylor, published in his ‘On Target’ column in Esprit de Corps magazine and website, Jan 14, 2019 (and see the accompanying reader comments)
For the approximately 200 Canadian military trainers currently deployed to Ukraine, it is likely that on the first of January they would have witnessed a torch-lit procession. Throughout Kiev and numerous other towns in Western Ukraine, thousands of civilians took to the streets – not to usher in the New Year but to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birth of a man named Stepan Bandera.
This was not the first time Ukrainian nationalists marched with torches to celebrate Bandera’s birthday, but it was the first time such a spectacle was an officially sanctioned affair. On December 28, 2018, Ukrainian Parliament passed Resolution 9234, which, among several other notable dates, made January 1 a formal holiday in Ukraine. The city of Lviv, which was Bandera’s birthplace, went one step further by declaring 2019 to be the ‘Year of Stepan Bandera’.
Ukrainian Independent News Agency (UNIAN) described Bandera as “a Ukrainian politician, one of the ideologists and theorists of the Ukrainian nationalists movement in the 20th Century”. Missing from this abbreviated resume is the fact that during World War II, Bandera was not only a Nazi collaborator, but also a direct participant in Hitler’s Holocaust…
New poll shows nearly six in ten Canadians agree with government and industry drive for more tar sands pipelines, report by CBC News, Jan 16, 2019 …Responses varied widely though across the provinces, with a high of 87 per cent of Albertans polled calling it [inability to build new pipelines due to opposition] a crisis while, at the low end, only 40 per cent of Quebecers had a similar sentiment…
[This poll result highlights the hard work ahead to convince a majority of Canadians to ‘leave fossil fuels in the ground’ and construct a new, planned economy in which all the waste and excess characteristic of capitalism is curtailed and ultimately eliminated. The present-day environmental movement in Canada is falling far short of all this.]
The majority of food produced in Canada is thrown out and the vast majority of the waste is by industry not households, by Ann Hui, food reporter, Globe and Mail, Jan 17, 2019
More than half of all food produced in Canada is wasted, with the food industry putting the vast majority of it into landfills, according to a new study. The study to be released on Thursday shows that the level of food waste in Canada is far worse than previously believed, with 58 per cent of all food produced either lost or wasted. It also finds that the vast majority – 86 per cent – takes place within the food industry and not in households, as previously thought…
Chinese students’ river of cash into Canada unlikely to dry up, by Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, Jan 13, 2019 Canada hosts eight times more Chinese students per capita than the U.S., suggesting this country’s educational institutions are more dependent on, if not addicted to, their fees.
Is the Coastal GasLink pipeline across northern BC illegal?, by Andrew Nikiforuk, TheTyee, Jan 11, 2019
The $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline [to fuel a massive, liquefied natural gas (LNG) project to be built in Kitimat BC] may face a bigger threat than the opposition of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and protests across Canada. Smithers resident Michael Sawyer says the project lacks the required federal approvals. He has filed a formal application to require a full National Energy Board (NEB) review.
Last fall the board agreed to consider Sawyer’s challenge. In April, it will hear final arguments on the question of whether the pipeline falls under provincial jurisdiction, or if it is subject to NEB rules and assessments…
* Wet’suwet’en First Nation challenge to Coastal GasLink/LNG project illustrates complexities of Indigenous law, by Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun , Jan 11, 2019
* A contested pipeline tests the landscape of Indigenous law – who controls the land?, feature article by Justine Hunter, Brent Jang, Wendy Stueck and Shawn McCarthy, Globe and Mail, Jan 11, 2018
* At the core of the Wet’suwet’en conflict: How, ultimately, should resource development be governed?, op-ed commentary by Tyler McCreary and Rick Budhwa, Globe and Mail, Jan 10, 2018
British Columbia premier John Horgan goes from lion to lamb on the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Jan 10, 2019
… Two years after the National Energy Board issued conditional approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion later, another flawed hearing run by the same discredited National Energy Board is taking place on the same uneconomic pipeline expansion. Yet Horgan seems to be in full retreat. The politician who once promised to use “every tool in the toolbox” to protect B.C.’s coastal economy and environment now appears mostly tool-less and toothless.
As premier, Horgan has championed a liquefied fracked gas export industry by showering its earthquake-making developers with tax breaks and royalty credits. He has also become “chummy” with the pipeline’s new owner, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, another business-as-usual politician. And while the Alberta government has spent more than $30 million to bombard the airwaves and Internet with pipeline propaganda, the B.C. government has remained relatively mute.
[Andrew Nikiforuk is one of the few writers in Canada to situate natural resource extraction disputes between industry and governments and First Nations in Canada in the context of the global warming emergency. That is, he views the conflicts in broader terms than First Nations sovereignty and meaningful roles in natural resource plunder.]
Casino investigators in British Columbia repeatedly warned bosses of ‘staggering’ amounts of money laundering, CBC News, Jan 10, 2019 When former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German brought down his ‘Dirty Money’ report in June, he guessed the amount of suspicious cash laundered through casinos in British Columbia “exceeded $100 million” over approximately seven years. But previously-secret internal reports obtained by CBC News through a freedom of information request show the dollar figure is at least seven times higher: more than $700 million between 2010 and 2017. Joe Schalk, the co-author of the confidential reports who was one of the province’s top gaming investigators, believes the actual figure is $1 billion…
Related: Collapse of casino money-laundering case in British Columbia, Global News, Nov 28, 2018 [Mainstream media in Canada is avoiding in-depth analysis of the crime and corruption embedded in Canada’s regulated casino and gambling industries and in its private housing market. A novel explanation is offered by federal prosecutors and is reported as good coin by Global News on January 9, 2019 to explain the latest collapse of legal action against an accused, money laundering operation in Vancouver region. British Columbia leads Canada in child poverty rates and in crime and corruption in its casinos and private housing market.]
Wet’suwet’en First Nation leaders strike tentative deal with RCMP allowing access to protest camp, by The Canadian Press, Jan 10, 2019
* BC Premier Horgan dismisses First Nations protests against fracked gas pipeline, report by Alistair Sharp, in The National Observer, Jan 9, 2019
* Climate change was the driving force behind destructive 2017 B.C. wildfire season, study says, CBC News, Jan 8, 2019 … More than 1.2 million hectares of B.C. burned in 2017 and 65,000 people were forced out of their homes by wildfire. By almost every metric, it was the worst season on record — that is, until the summer of 2018, when more than 1.35 million hectares went up in flames…
* British Columbia’s NDP premier backs arrests of First Nations leaders opposing fracked natural gas pipeline to BC coastline, column by Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, Jan 9, 2019 [Little attention has been given by media across the board to the fact that the proposed Coastal GasLink Pipeline will fuel a massive, climate-destroying liquefied natural gas complex to be built in Kitimat on the northern BC coast. The gas is destined for sale in markets abroad. The project’s owners and the BC government are promoting the project under the bogus claim that natural gas is a ‘cleaner’ fossil fuel compared to coal or oil.] * Pipeline conflict tests how Trudeau will balance energy, environment, indigenous rights, by Emily Rauhala, Washington Post, Jan 9, 2019
* First let’s talk about basic Indigenous rights, then we’ll get to reconciliation, by Tanya Talaga, Indigenous issues columnist, Toronto Star, Jan. 8, 2019 …The reality of 2019 looks a lot like Canada’s colonial past. This week, we are seeing this play out clearly and painfully on two separate but related fronts. On January 9, Cindy Blackstock will walk into an Ottawa hearing room to begin the 12th year of her fight to end the federal government’s longstanding and well-documented racial discrimination against First Nations kids… Blackstock’s battle is taking place as the country heaves and ruptures from the arrests on January 7 of 14 First Nations people in northern British Columbia defending their own land against a [fracked natural gas] pipeline…
There were at least 59 people killed by police in Canada in 2018. Most of their names and circumstances are shrouded in police secrecy, by Jeff Shantz, Rabble.ca, Jan 10, 2019
Analysis of Canada’s multi-billion dollar plans to acquire new generations of warships and fighter jets, report by CBC News, Jan 8, 2019 ‘New warships and fighter jets are by far the two biggest projects that have gotten underway in this country in a long time. Doing them at the same time is not something we’ve done in peacetime before.’
Appeal Court of British Columbia gives Ottawa more time in stalling to modify solitary confinement law, report by The Canadian Press, Jan 7, 2019
The federal government introduced Bill C-83 in October 2018 would stipulates prisoners who pose risks to security or themselves would be moved to new “structured intervention units” and offered the opportunity to spend four hours a day outside their cells, with a minimum of two hours to interact with others. However, the bill does not include hard caps on how many days or months inmates can be isolated from the general prison population.
Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said he expects a further decision from the B.C. Appeal Court on the substance of the federal government’s appeal, which is whether the B.C. Supreme Court got it right when it struck down provisions of the current law [in January 2018].
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association launched a separate case against solitary confinement in Ontario. The Court of Appeal in that province has given the federal government until April 30, 2019 to enact new legislation. Paterson said it’s unclear which deadline the government must respect and Ottawa could ask the Ontario court to align itself with British Columbia…
Related: In Ontario court case, Ottawa wins reprieve until April 2019 to change solitary confinement law, report by The Canadian Press, Monday, Dec 17, 2018 The federal government eked out a four-month reprieve for its solitary confinement law on Monday despite criticism from Ontario’s top court about Ottawa’s failure to address concerns around segregation practices over the past year. An Ontario judge struck down the law as unconstitutional one year ago but put his ruling on hold for 12 months to give the government time to fix things. However, Ottawa said it was working on legislation and unable to meet the December 18 deadline…
Previously reported on A Socialist In Canada:
* ‘Nothing has changed’ in use of solitary confinement with mentally ill prisoners by Ontario’s penal institutions, despite 2013 agreement with Ontario Human Rights Commission to reduce [not end] the practice, report by Jim Rankin, Toronto Star, Nov 17, 2018
* Ottawa government’s appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. commences on Nov 13, by Camille Bains, The Canadian Press, Nov 12, 2018
* Canada goes to appeal court to salvage its torture policy (solitary confinement) in prison system, report by CBC News, Nov 12, 2018
* Solitary confinement by another name is just as cruel, op-ed column by Kim Pate, senator in Canada’s appointed Senate, published in Globe and Mail, Nov 12, 2018 (Senator Kim Pate is past executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.) Government legislation billed as eliminating the damaging and dangerous practice of administrative segregation – better known as solitary confinement – is in reality, a cynical exercise that merely rebrands this cruel treatment. I am shocked by the linguistic trickery in Bill C-83: ‘An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act’ and another act …
The morally bankrupt ‘war on drugs’ in Canada that continues to record grim, new highs of user deaths, analysis by Paul Willcocks, published in The Tyee (Vancouver BC), Jan 4, 2019
Alberta government floats new refinery option as solution for oil industry’s glut, by Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg News, Jan 6, 2019
Related: Overproduction spree, not pipeline capacity, is at root of tar sands (fossil fuel) firestorm in Alberta, report by Carl Meyer, in National Observer, Jan 4, 2019 … The National Energy Board report shows how the amount of Western Canada crude oil available for export has only recently exceeded available pipeline capacity, even as the amount of oil available to export more than doubled since 2010. Available capacity remained steadily above available crude from January 2010 until September 2018. Meanwhile, crude available for export went from under two million barrels per day, to over four million barrels per day. Put another way, if Canada’s crude oil available for export had not grown as much as it did over the last eight years, pipeline capacity may not have become as much of an issue as it is today…
Five weeks after The Guardian’s claim of Assange-Manafort meetings in Ecuador embassy in London, still no evidence, just stonewalling, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Jan 2, 2019 All the questions surrounding The Guardian’s sensational claims in late November 2018 remain unanswered, while writer Luke Harding and his editors maintain a strict silence. The Guardian prides itself in demanding transparency and accountability from everyone else, but in this case has refused to provide any of its own. [Luke Harding, the Guardian writer who fabricated the ‘Paul Manafort secretly meets Julian Assange’ story published in late November 2018, is a darling of Canada’s state-run broadcaster the CBC due to their shared anti-Russia views. He appeared in a feature interview on the weekday, newsmagazine program ‘The Current’ on CBC Radio One on November 30, 2017 (‘Trump-Russia ‘scandal bigger than Watergate,’ says author and reporter Luke Harding’). He made a return visit to the program on March 8, 2018 to promote the bogus allegation that the Russian government orchestrated a chemical poisoning of Sergei and Julia Skripal in London on March 4, 2017. The story was headlined, ‘Suspected poisoning of former spy is a warning to the West, says expert ‘, the “expert” being none other than Harding. CBC also features a video interview with Harding from London on Nov 24, 2017 by Terence McKenna, a lifetime investigative journalist at the CBC: ‘Donald Trump, Robert Mueller, and Russia’s potential role in the 2016 election’.].
Canada newsroll on A Socialist In Canada, December 2018
Police carding should be banned in Ontario, independent review says, by Jacques Gallant and May Warren, Toronto Star, Dec. 31, 2018 and, Report finds little to no proof police carding has effect on crime or arrests, by Canadian Press, Dec 31, 2018 … Repeated analyses by the Toronto Star of Toronto Police Service carding data have found Black people were more likely than white people to be stopped, questioned and documented in each of the city’s more than 70 patrol zones, and that the likelihood increased in areas that are predominantly white… [Police ‘carding’ (harassment) of racial and national minorities in Canada will intensify as a result of the coming into force in December 2018 of Bill C-46, the new federal law which authorizes the use of random, roadside saliva testing by police against those suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.]
Eighty per cent of glaciers in western Canada will disappear in next 50 years, says annual report of Alpine Club of Canada, by Hina Alam, The Canadian Press, Dec 27, 2018 … The ‘State of the Mountains‘ report published in May 2018 by the Alpine Club of Canada says outside of the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, Canada has more glacier cover than any other nation. Of the estimated 200,000 square kilometres of Canadian glaciers, one quarter is found in the mountains of western Canada (Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon) and the remainder are in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago…
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rejects the call of NDP MP Don Davies to halt extradition of Huawei executive to U.S., CBC News, Dec 20, 2018
Protests in Saint John, New Brunswick aim to block the next shipment of Canadian-built armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, by Joseph Tunney and Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Dec 21, 2018
Related: Two residents of London, Ontario discuss the morality of Canada’s approval of General Dynamic’s sales of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, interview broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Dec 20, 2018 (24-minute episode)
Rallies and fishing boat blockades aim to stop Nova Scotia pulp mill’s plan to continue dumping toxic effluent into the ocean, by Haley Ryan, Star Metro Halifax (Toronto Star chain), Dec. 18, 2018
* How a proposed pulp-mill discharge pipe is tearing a Nova Scotia town apart, by Jessica Leeder, Atlantic bureau chief, The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Dec 19, 2018 The pulp and paper mill in Pictou, Nova Scotia wants to build an effluent pipeline that has galvanized the region’s fishermen in opposition. But as workers fear their jobs are in jeopardy, tensions are rising and the struggle has spilled over into the courts (Subscriber only article, read it here in pdf format: Nova Scotia pulp mill protested.
* Actress Ellen Page says Nova Scotia government needs to ‘step up right now’ to stop Northern Pulp’s plan to continue dumping toxic effluent into the Northumberland Strait, by Haley Ryan, Star Metro Halifax, Dec. 12, 2018
The NDP/Green Party government’s ‘climate action’ plan vs liquefied natural gas ambitions: Here’s the ‘missing chart’ that explains the gap, by Barry Saxifrage, The National Observer, Dec 20, 2018
The British Columbia government has recently made two big decisions that are pulling the province in opposite directions in the climate fight — approving LNG Canada and rolling out the new CleanBC climate plan. The LNG Canada project is massive. It will sprawl from new fracked gas wells in northwestern BC, across the coast mountains via the hotly-contested, 650 km “Coastal GasLink” pipeline, to a new liquefaction terminal in Kitimat. From there, the gas will be loaded onto supertankers and shipped to Asia. The project benfits from extensive tax breaks and other government ‘incentives’.
The LNG terminal is designed to be built in two phases, each of which will produce 13 million tonnes of liquid natural gas. The first phase is now going ahead. If both phases get built it will become the “biggest capital project in B.C. history.” And probably the most climate polluting as well, with projections for up to 10 million tonnes of climate pollution (MtCO2) per year. For scale, that’s more than the emissions from all passenger cars, trucks and SUVs in the province today…
* The shiny new climate plan of the British Columbia government: A look under the hood, by Marc Lee, published by the Canadian Center for Economic Policy, Dec 17, 2018 [The BC government’s ‘Clean BC’ document and exercise has been instantly lauded by environmental groups and businesses. West Coast Environmental Law headlines its Dec 5, 2018 statement on the matter with “CleanBC plan is a road map to new economy, climate leadership.” In his published analysis above, Marc Lee, senior economist at the CCPA, outlines the key components of the ‘plan’. He analyzes, in particular, the consequences of the BC government’s decision to approve two liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the province. These projects make a mockery of any stated intention of action to mitigate global warming. Notwithstanding his critique of LNG, Marc Lee finds the green-capitalist, ‘Clean BC’ plan marks “progress”. But there is no ‘progress’ towards the major reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These are being driven by the all-powerful, economic imperatives of expansionist capitalism.] * A big, green wave of capitalist greenwashing is announced by British Columbia government, see report in The National Observer, Dec 5, 2018 and report in CBC News, Dec 5, 2018
[The BC government ‘climate plan’ announced on December 5 aims to switch dirty, polluting, fossil fuel energy sources over to dirty, polluting ‘renewable’ energy sources, in particular to hydro-electric energy. This in order to proceed with a huge increase in natural gas fracking and liquefaction (LNG) for export in such a way as to maintain some semblance of greenhouse gas reduction targets (which LNG ambitions will inevitably blow out of the water). The ‘plan’ also assumes continuing business-as-usual coal mining and export, forest clearcutting, mineral mining, and urban sprawl. Notwithstanding all that, this is how Canadian Press reports the matter in the opening sentence of its news report on December 5: “The British Columbia government has introduced a strategy to shift away from fossil fuels and build the provincial economy around reducing greenhouse gas emissions [sic]. But it also leaves portions of the plan to be determined…” Underlying the BC government plan (taken as good coin by Canadian Press et al) is that all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which industry in the province is exporting in the form of coal, natural gas, future LNG if all goes well, lumber processing and finishing, and electricity exports is ‘not our problem’. These do not enter into official calculations of emissions in the province. Similarly, all the CO2 emissions associated with BC’s ongoing urban sprawl are to be waived away by a magic wand in the form of (someday, maybe) electrifying all or most auto, truck and transit transportation. As though electricity and its transmission and consumption as well as massive transportation networks to move goods and people have no consequences for GHG levels.
[The government’s plan is a greenwashing mirage. But mainstream (green capitalist) environmental groups in British Columbia and Canada as well as mainstream editorialists and alternative media outlets are welcoming it. BC-based Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason calls it a ‘great leap forward’.].
A simple proportional representation question could have won British Columbia’s referendum, poll finds, by Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun, Dec 21, 2018 British Columbians are strongly in favour of an electoral system that better represents the intentions of voters and they might well have voted for one, according to a post-mortem poll. Voters strongly rejected pro-rep in the mail-in referendum, but a simpler question could have gone the other way…
Related: Convoluted and confusing process contributes to defeat of proportional representation referendum in British Columbia, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Dec 20, 2018
Cities in British Columbia join global movement asking oil companies for climate change costs, by Amy Smart, The Canadian Press, Dec 21, 2018
Toronto’s unique ravine system under threat, by Leyland Ceco, published in The Guardian, Dec 21, 2018 Without urgent action against environmental degradation, the forest ravines covering 20 per cent of the city could be reduced to sterile valleys within decades
Related: Toronto looking to cut costs on ravine strategy while expanding canopy, by Patty Winsa, Toronto Star, Dec. 31, 2018
Vancouver city councillor seeks ‘climate emergency’ declaration, by Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun, Dec 19, 2018 Vancouver city councillor Christine Boyle submitted a motion this past week for a declaration by the city council of a “climate emergency” and also seeking to “ramp up the ambition on our climate targets.” The motion cites costs associated with climate change, including a figure from a June 2018 city report estimating Vancouver needs $1 billion worth of flood management infrastructure by 2100. [The figure for the entire Vancouver region is $10 billion and more.] That infrastructure would require another $5 million per year for maintenance and staff, Boyle’s motion says, and warns a flood in Vancouver would cause $7 billion in property damage, not including cleanup and rebuilding costs. [City councillor Christine Boyle has evidently ‘got religion’ over the global warming emergency because the matter was nowhere on the agenda in any of the municipal elections across the Vancouver region on Oct 20, 2018.]
* Vancouver city mayor mulls public relations effort to show concern over global warming emergency, report by Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun, Dec 18, 2018 [Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart had nothing to say about the global warming emergency during the Oct 20, 2018 election that he won. Including nothing to say about the pro-fossil fuel agenda of the BC government which Stewart’s New Democratic Party leads in partnership with the Green Party. He favours Vancouver’s frenzied real estate development and he favours the ongoing urban sprawl of the Vancouver region. ‘Cost recovery’ from fossil fuel companies for their criminal business activities over past decades will not stop the inexorable rise of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Only a ‘drawdown’ (‘degrowth’) of the frenzied economic growth imperative of capitalism can place the world on a path of recovery.].
* Campaign to demand that fossil fuel companies share costs of climate change damage to municipalities in British Columbia. Website page of campaign update, by West Coast Environmental Law, December 2018, and: British Columbia municipalities under attack for demanding that petroleum producers contribute to costs of global warming, for payout, report by Matt Robinson, Vancouver Sun, Dec 19, 2018 [The daily Vancouver Sun is part of the Postmedia newspaper chain in Canada. The chain was a vigorous climate change denial platform until that was no longer tenable. Now Postmedia operates a stance of ‘delay and deflect‘ on behalf of the oil, tar sands, natural gas and coal industries in British Columbia and Alberta.]
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohia announces Canada will provide $1.6 billion to help Alberta oil and tar sands industries, by Carl Meyer, The National Observer, Dec 18, 2018 … The decision by Sohi to make more aid and financing available to the oilpatch is the latest move by the Trudeau Liberals supporting the industry. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Nov. 21 fiscal update allowed Canada’s oil and gas industry to benefit from a new program that allows businesses to write off a larger share of assets in the year an investment was made. Earlier in 2018, Canada paid $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project, using loans managed by Export Development Canada that are ultimately backed by the federal consolidated revenue fund…
[In reaction to the federal gov’t aid package to the oil and tar sands industry nexus, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says it’s not enough. She is staging a performance saying that the world is desperate to buy crude oil and tar sands bitumen from Alberta–even as world oil prices continue their collapse, and even as tar sands bitumen remains one of the most costly forms fossil fuel extraction. The NDP premier uses her false claims to argue that opposition to an expanded pipeline to the Pacific coast should be bulldozed aside. A twist on this theme, supported by the Alberta Federation of Labour, is the premier’s call to build more upgraders and oil refineries in Alberta. The newly-completed ‘Sturgeon’ diesel fuel refinery 35 km north of Edmonton has come it at a cost of some $10 billion, more than double (!) its original estimated cost, all heavily subsidized by government. For their part, oil industry executives are feigning disinterest in the federal government handouts (“recoiling” from the handouts, writes one prominent financial journalist, of an industry that lives and dies on government handouts!), saying what they need are pipelines, not loans, so they can sell more of their product. Mainstream media is playing along with the game, downplaying the consequences of the worldwide glut in oil supply and accompanying price crash and downplaying the fact that Alberta crude oil and tar sands bitumen are highly costly to process and refine.]
* Canada offers CAN$1.6 billion in loans and aid for Alberta tar sands liquidity, by Josh Wingrove and Kevin Orland, Bloomberg News, Dec 18, 2018
* World oil prices drop more than five per cent amidst supply glut, fears of economic slowdown, Reuters, Dec 17, 2018
* What’s behind the crash in crude oil prices?, by Nick Cunningham, Oil Price.com, Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 Oil prices crashed to new one-year lows on Tuesday, dragged down by a deepening sense of global economic gloom as well as fears of oversupply in the oil market itself. The reasons for the sudden meltdown were multiple. Rising crude oil inventories and expected increases in shale production weighed on oil prices, but the price crash was accentuated by the broader selloff in financials…
Right-wing rallies in Alberta demand ‘build that tar sands pipeline’ (to the Pacific coast), report on CBC News, Dec 18, 2018
A solution to the transit deadlock created by the new, right-wing mayor of Surrey BC, essay by Patrick Condon, published in The Tyee (Vancouver BC), Dec 17, 2018
[Surrey is the largest suburb in the Vancouver region of British Columbia. In the mayoral election of October 20, 2018, 33 per cent of eligible voters took part. Forty one per cent of those resurrected Doug McCallum from the political graveyard. After serving several terms as mayor, he lost the mayoral election in 2005. He gained re-election in 2018 with Trump-style promises to ‘cut taxes’ and cut government spending. He has thrown out the multi-billion dollar, rapid transit plan of the preceeding administration and created his own multi-billion dollar rapid transit plan. Both plans are designed to serve the interests of the real estate industry and its ongoing urban sprawl in the Vancouver region. In this essay, Professor Patrick Condon at the University of British Columbia proposes a simple and cost effective transit plan that is far superior to that of the urban sprawl advocates, including that it could serve the entire, 100 kilometer-plus long Fraser River Valley. But don’t hold your breath waiting for it…
[Vancouver’s gridlocked transportation crisis is the norm in Canadian cities, exceeded only by that in Toronto.]
Opioid poisoning deaths continue to rise in Canada’s failed, deadly ‘war on drugs’. There were 2066 opioid poisoning deaths in Canada from January to June 2018. In all of 2017 there were 3,987 such deaths, up 34 per cent from the 2016 death toll of 2,978. (Figures by Health Canada.) [The Canadian government has legalized the possession of marijuana. Far from freeing Canadians from police and court harassment, the measure is being used by governments to strengthen police powers. The federal Parliament has twisted its ‘marijuana legalization’ to approve via Bill C-46 the use of random, roadside saliva testing by police for suspected marijuana intoxication. Bill C-46 comes into effect on December 18, 2018 and empowers police to conduct random, roadside testing for alcohol or THC (marijuana) impairment. Police may also demand a blood sample, though this fact is not being reported by state-run and other corporate media. The new law will extend existing, widespread police use of racial profiling (random harassment and detention) of racial and national minorities. Deadly, non-prescription opioid drugs, meanwhile, remain illegal, causing thousands of deaths per year, particularly among poor working class people.]
Canadian government ministers travel to Washington, will consult over extradition demand by U.S. against Weng Manzhou, report in City TV News, Dec 14, 2018 and, Canada’s foreign minister and defense minister head to Washington for talks with their U.S. counterparts, report by Radio Canada International, Dec 14, 2018
* Trump’s announced willingness to intervene in Meng Wanzhou detention exposes Canada’s claim her detention is not political, merely a case of abiding by the U.S.-Canada extradition treaty, by The Canadian Press, Dec 12, 2018 [Vancouver lawyer Gary Botting who specializes in extradition law has told CBC Vancouver news on December 13 that Canada’s minister of foreign affairs has the power and discretion to dismiss “with a stroke of a pen” the (highly political) extradition request by the U.S. government against Meng Wanzhou. But Freeland’s government as well as mainstream media in Canada are pretending that the U.S. request trumps (no pun intended) Canadian law and sovereignty. According to this story, Canada is obliged to pursue Wanzhou’s extradition. That is, indeed, what Canadian government lawyers are doing before the BC Supreme Court where the case is being aired.].
* Canada’s relationship with Trump reaches a ‘new level of frustration’ after president’s comments expose the story that the U.S. extradition demand for Weng Manzhou is ‘non political’, report by CBC News, Dec 13, 2018 [Donald Trump’s comments on December 12 show the detention of Weng Manzhou in Canada is part of elaborate U.S. economic threats and extortion against China. ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance member Canada says it is an innocent bystander merely meeting its obligations under its extradition treaty with the U.S.]
China confirms second Canadian detained and under investigation for allegedly endangering national security, South China Morning Post, Dec 13, 2018
The real face of Justin Trudeau on Israel-Palestine: Unwavering and uncritical support to Israel, by Ramzy Baroud, columnist, The Jordan Times, Dec 11, 2018 In the first 18 months of his mandate, the Trudeau-led Liberal Party government in Ottawa voted against 16 UN General Assembly resolutions that were critical of Israel.
No question about it: The U.S., Canada and their NATO allies lost the war in Afghanistan, by Scott Taylor, published in his weekly column ‘On Target’, in Esprit de Corps, Dec 10, 2018
Related: Canada’s role in failed Afghanistan mission needs probe, by Scott Taylor, published in his weekly column ‘On Target’, in The Chronicle Herald (Halifax daily), Nov 4, 2018
The ‘Green New Deal’ of Democratic Party leaders in the U.S. gains support among environmentalists in Canada. Two reports:
* Unions should go big on a ‘green new deal’ for Canada, by Matt Price, The Tyee, Dec 10, 2018 … What if the debate was explicitly recast as about creating good new jobs on a massive scale, about creating a just new economy, and about taking care of people through the transition? That’s the premise behind the proposed Green New Deal being championed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many others in America…
* Canada needs its own Green New Deal. Here’s what it could look like, by Clayton Thomas-Müller, The National Observer, Nov 29, 2018 … The Green New Deal, catapulted onto the national agenda by a fiery mixture of political champions like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and mass youth-led organizing by the Sunrise Movement, is perhaps the most straightforward policy proposal for tackling climate change that many of us have ever seen…
[Both of the above authors fail to mention that far from showing interest in tackling the global warming emergency, industrial unions in Canada and the United States are ‘going big’ in support to all manner of expanded natural resource extraction and plunder, including fossil fuels. The result has been a profound split between industrial unions and public service unions in the already corrupt and ineffectual trade union structures such as the Canadian Labour Congress and AFL-CIO. As to the content of the ‘Green New Deal’ being touted by leaders of the Democratic Party, it is thin gruel. Writer Christine Corlet Walker in England explains, “Recent environmental movements demanding action on climate change, like the Extinction Rebellion in the UK and the Ende Gelande Alliance in Germany, don’t seem to take a clear stance on the role of economic growth in driving climate change. They don’t identify our unwavering commitment to the dogma of infinite economic growth as the driving force behind climate change… Without a wider critique of the toxic relationship between climate change and economic growth, governments will be almost powerless to achieve any net zero targets they set… The websites suggested by the Extinction Rebellion promote ideas such as green growth and a green new deal. These ideas are founded on the premise that we can achieve both continually high rates of economic growth and reduce our impact on the planet. Sadly, the evidence (and a dash of common sense) tells us that this is not yet happening, and is unlikely to be possible in the near future…”
How clean is the ‘climate plan’ of the NDP/Green Party government in British Columbia? by Bill Henderson, Pacific Free Press, December 8, 2018 also published on the blog of Gorilla Radio (hosted by Chris Cook, Victoria BC)
Related: The British Columbia carbon tax: A failed experiment in market-based solutions to climate change, report by Food and Water Watch, Oct 24, 2016 (12-page report)
Ontario Human Rights Commission interim inquiry report on Toronto Police shows racial minorities suffer far higher rates of police violence, news release by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Dec 10, 2018 and report by CBC News, Dec 10, 2018
… The results highlighted in the report are disturbing. For example, between 2013 and 2017, a Black person was nearly 20 times more likely than a White person to be involved in a fatal shooting by the Toronto Police; and despite representing only 8.8 per cent of Toronto’s population, Black people made up approximately 30 per cent of police use-of-force cases that resulted in serious injury or death, 60 per cent of deadly encounters with Toronto Police, and 70 per cent of fatal police shootings…
Alberta delays cap on oil sands carbon emissions, by Shawn McCarthy, global energy reporter, The Globe and Mail, Dec 11, 2018 (subscriber only article, read the text here) … The NDP government passed the Oil Sands Emissions Limits Act two years ago, and set up a panel that advised the government on the required regulations, including how to allocate emissions if the sector approaches the cap and how to enforce the limits…
[Two years ago, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced that her government was setting a ‘cap’ of 100 million tonnes per year of greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands production. At the time, emissions were some 70 million tonnes; the 100 million tonnes figure was not expected to be reached until the year 2030! Now the public relations ploy has been cast aside as the government makes all-out efforts to assist production expansion. The Notley government is also subsidizing the expansion of existing pipeline and rail transport to U.S. markets and continuing its agitation for building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to boost shipments of tar sands bitumen (what mainstream media labels “oilsands product”) to an export terminal in the port of Vancouver.]
* Enbridge to squeeze more tar sands bitumen and heavy oil product from Alberta onto its existing pipelines to U.S. markets, Financial Post, Dec 11, 2018 [The original Financial Post article headline reads ‘Enbridge to squeeze more oil barrels in main pipeline to help lift prices’. A small portion of Alberta bitumen and heavy oil is fetching record low prices in U.S markets due to the high cost of transporting, processing and refining the products combined with expanding U.S. and world oil production. But the Alberta government as well as mainstream media promote the myth that the solution to the low prices is to increase the existing glut of production in Alberta by building more pipelines to transport the product! Industry researcher and critic Robyn Allan is the only writer in Canada to have exposed the myth, in The National Observer, Nov 26, 2018. She explains that only a small part of Alberta production fetches panic-inducing low prices.].
* Environment groups tell ‘COP24’ climate conference in Poland that Canada is not slowing emissions from oil and gas, by Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press, Dec 11, 2018 Canada is living in a fantasy if the government thinks it can meet its greenhouse-gas promises without reducing how much oil and gas the country produces, environment groups told the world at a global conference on climate change Monday. Environmental Defence and Stand.earth used United Nations climate talks in Poland to release a new report accusing the oil-and-gas industry of undermining Canada’s climate plans…
* New report exposes details of systematic weakening by Canadian oil companies of Canada’s climate ambitions, press release by Environmental Defense and Stand.earth, Dec 10, 2018 A new report released today at the ‘COP 24’ climate conference in Katowice, Poland shows oil and gas emissions in Canada are rising and that oil and gas companies in the country are systematically weakening and delaying Canada’s climate plan and further climate ambition while reaping more federal subsidies and continuing to increase oil production…
Pipelines will not solve the big problems with Alberta oil, by John Foster, published on his blog in Rabble.ca, Dec 10, 2018
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou freed in Vancouver on $10M bail as she endures U.S. extradition threat, report on CBC News, Dec 11, 2018 see also: report from Associated Press and Reuters, on ABC.net.au, Dec 11, 2018 [Meng Wanzhou’s next court appearance will be February 6, 2019, though a political agreement to settle the U.S. political/economic attack against her and Huawei is likely to be reached well before then.]
The war against China’s telecommunications giant Huawei, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, published on Project Syndicate, Dec 11, 2018 The Trump administration’s conflict with China has little to do with US external imbalances, closed Chinese markets, or even China’s alleged theft of intellectual property. It has everything to do with containing China by limiting its access to foreign markets, advanced technologies, global banking services, and perhaps even US universities. [The Canadian government innocently claims that in detaining Weng Wanzhou at the Vancouver airport on December 7, it was ‘merely’ meeting its obligations under the U.S.-Canada treaty governing extradition between the two countries. As though Canada’s foreign policy does not march in lock step with the Donald Trump-led United States on every issue of consequence. As though Canada is not an enthusiastic member of the ‘Five Eyes’ spying and disruption alliance together with the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand.]
* Former Canadian diplomat detained in China amidst rising tensions over Canada’s detention of Huawei executive Weng Manzhou, by The Canadian Press, Dec 11, 2018 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is in contact with Chinese authorities over the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in China that comes at a time of intensifying tensions between the two countries. Trudeau spoke briefly to reporters Tuesday about the case of Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat assigned to China and fluent in Chinese. Kovrig worked as a political lead for Trudeau’s visit to Hong Kong in 2016 and currently works for the International Crisis Group…
* China’s and Huawei’s place in the race to build ‘5G’ telecommunications network technology, by Melanie Green, StarMetro Vancouver, Dec. 11, 2018
* New Zealand joins its ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance partners Australia and U.S. in banning Chinese company Huawei from participating in building next generation ‘5G’ telecommunications network, by Gordon Campbell, New Zealand writer, published on Nov 29, 2018 See also: Huawei decision is the price of being in Five Eyes. [The Canadian government is under big pressure from the country’s Globe and Mail daily to institute its own ban agaisnt Huawei. The exigencies of the five-country spying and sabotage partnership with its New Cold War against Russia and China make this all-but inevitable; so too for Britain.]
National Post (Postmedia) columnist Andrew Coyne steps up anti-China rhetoric in December 10 column: No trade deal is worth letting down our guard on China. (Andrew Coyne is also a feature panelist on the ‘At Issue’ weekly feature on ‘The National’, the national nightly television news program of Canada’s state broadcaster the CBC.) … Whatever its flaws, the United States remains one of the world’s great democracies. To align ourselves instead with its adversary, never mind one with such a bestial human rights record as Beijing, would be intolerable…
Chinese telecom executive accused of fraud by the United States over Iran sanctions, by The Canadian Press, Dec 7, 2018 [Meng Wanzhou’s lawyer told a BC Supreme Court judge that there are no criminal charges against her in the U.S., only an arrest warrant. He says the telecom subsidiary with which Huawei was conducting business in Iran was sold in 2009, before the U.S. imposed related sanctions in 2010 under President Obama.]
* Huawei CFO Weng Wanzhou to spend weekend in detention after bail hearing adjourns, CBC News, Dec 7, 2018
* At bail hearing in Vancouver, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou rejects U.S. accusations of ties to Iran, report by Globe and Mail, Dec 11, 2018 (subscriber only) The United States government is alleging the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies committed fraud in 2013, when she misled American financial institutions about her company’s links to a Hong Kong firm doing business in Iran, opening the banks to risk of violating U.S. sanctions. Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers told a B.C. Supreme Court on Friday that the American allegations are built on faulty evidence, noting Huawei did own Skycom from 2008 to 2009 but the telecom giant had divested fully and she had left the other firm’s board…
[Editorialists and politicians in Canada are pressing for Canada to follow the lead of its ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance partners U.S., Australia and New Zealand in banning the Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei from any participation in building the new ‘5G’ telecommunications network in Canada. The Globe and Mail daily has been leading the agitation in favour of such a ban. Canadian government lawyers are aggressively arguing before the BC Supreme Court that the judge should permit the extradition of Meng Wanzhou’s to the U.S., saying Canada’s extradition treaty with the U.S. requires it. Canada’s state-run media is meanwhile peddling as news an interpretation of events saying Canada is “caught in the middle” between the U.S. and China.]
New university campus squeezing Montreal’s poorest neighbourhood, by Cecilia Keating, The National Observer, Dec 11, 2018
Climate fears are real, so Alberta’s tar sands must close, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Dec 4, 2018
Related: Pro-fossil fuel NDP premier of Alberta Rachel Notley may be living on borrowed time, by Chantal Hébert, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 30, 2018 [Left unspoken by the Star columnist is how the global warming-denial politics shared by the NDP government and Conservative Party right-wing in Alberta are fueling a rise of the extreme right. Irrational politics–from global warming denial to anti-immigrant prejudice and racism–are fueling the rise of the extreme-right in Canada. The Conservative Party provides an official veneer of respectability to the spectacle. A further warning about the rise of the extreme-right is signaled by rising support in Quebec for the racist, anti-immigrant face covering ban proposed by the new, right-wing government there and the government’s declared policy of reducing immigration. All the parties in the Quebec National Assembly share a view that ‘something’ needs to be done on the issue of face covering; they differ merely on how to go about it. ]
Huawei finance chief detained in Canada, faces extradition to U.S. over Iran sanctions, RT, Dec 5, 2018 [Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. government on December 1 while transiting through the Vancouver airport. Canadian officials have imposed a publication ban, so it is unknown what, exactly, the U.S. alleges. She will appear at a bail hearing before the BC Supreme Court on December 7.]
* Meeting in Ottawa between Canadian MPs and visiting Chinese officials planned, then cancelled, by Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press, Dec 5, 2018
* Director of Canada’s CSIS spy agency warns of state-sponsored espionage threat to 5G, report in Globe and Mail, Dec 4, 2018
* New Zealand joins its ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance partners Australia and U.S. in banning Chinese company Huawei from participating in building next generation ‘5G’ telecommunications network, by Gordon Campbell, New Zealand writer, published on Nov 29, 2018 See also: Huawei decision is the price of being in Five Eyes. [The Canadian government is under big pressure from the country’s Globe and Mail daily to institute its own ban. The exigencies of the five-country spying and sabotage partnership with its New Cold War against Russia and China make this all-but inevitable; so too for Britain.]
‘Legal marijuana’ in Canada now includes new police powers for mandatory roadside saliva and breath testing, by Brian Platt, National Post, Dec 4, 2018 [Bill 46 amends the Criminal Code of Canada and goes into effect in two weeks (except in two provinces where police are already implementing it!). It was approved by Parliament six months ago and preserves essentials of Canada’s ongoing ‘drug war’, namely the use of police powers to control the lives of civilians. Police do not have to suspect any wrongdoing in order to conduct roadside breath tests or taking of saliva samples. The technology used to detect marijuana intoxication is presently flawed and subject to legal challenges, but the technology is sure to improve—or courts will believe so–as governments strive to strengthen police powers while simultaneously making marijuana consumption ‘legal’. Racial profiling by police will expand thanks to Bill 46 as will criminal records for those who refuse a roadside test.]
* Many questions and concerns after federal government bends to pressure and muses about ‘pardons’ for past marijuana possession conviction, report on CBC News, Oct 17, 2018
[Following its restricted legalization of simple marijuana possession on October 17, 2018, a Canadian government ‘plan’ announced the same day would allow Canadians convicted in the past of simple marijuana possession to apply for a ‘pardon’ for their offense. But there is no legislation and no timeline, so this is no ‘plan’ at all. The government does explicitly say it will not “expunge” records of past criminal convictions. By contrast, the government enacted a law in June 2018 allowing for Canadians to apply to expunge past criminal convictions for engaging in homosexual acts. Canadians with past marijuana convictions will be able to apply for ‘pardons’, but this still leaves the criminal record in place. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a press conference in Ottawa on October 17: “We have utilized the tool of expungement in cases where there is a profound historical injustice that needed to be corrected. The laws with respect to cannabis that have existed historically… are out of step with current mores and views in Canada, but are not of the same nature as the historic, social injustice that was imposed in relation to the LGBTQ2 community.” More than 500,000 Canadians have a criminal record for having pot on their person, according to a 2014 study. A disproportionate number of these convictions were racially based, particularly targetting Indigenous people and people of dark skin colour.
[U.S lawyer Len Saunders in the border town of Blaine, Washington has told CBC Radio One that Canadians who apply for ‘pardons’ for past marijuana convictions will raise their profiles in police records available to U.S. border control. He likens the federal government’s mused pardon process to “leading lambs to the slaughter”. The Real News Network, meanwhile, falsely reports on October 18 that the Canadian government legalization measure includes the expunging of past convictions.]
* Applying for a pot pardon could get you flagged and barred at the U.S. border, legal experts warn, by Perrin Grauer and Jesse Winter, StarMetro Vancouver, Oct. 17, 2018
* Ten things that will still be a crime after cannabis is legalized, analysis by Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Oct 16, 2018
* Roadside tests for cannabis will bring lots of litigation, lawyer says, CBC News, Aug 28, 2018
Vancouver’s booster class, greed and the real estate ‘play of the century’, by Patrick Condon, published in The Tyee (Vancouver BC), Dec 3, 2018 (Patrick Condon is the James Taylor chair in Landscape and Livable Environments at the University of British Columbia. He was a candidate for mayor of Vancouver in 2018 before leaving the race months before the election.)
Soft-left media outlet Rabble.ca publishes commentary urging Canadian government to take more control over news and information flows. The Rabble.ca outlet has recently published a blog article warning of “foreign interference in next year’s  federal election”. The blog article does not say from whence comes the threat [!], but it intimates strongly by its reference to “Russian activity on [Facebook]”. The writer argues that the federal government should take stronger measures to control news and information flows. Evidently, the Canadian electorate is too ignorant to distinguish fact from fiction, so the government should be given more powers to decide on the electorate’s behalf. There is no mention in the blog item of how the biggest purveyor of false and misleading news in Canada by far is the government’s very own outlet, the CBC. The Canadian government and its police and spy agencies are preparaing a large propaganda push leading up to the 2019 election telling Canadians that ‘Russian meddling’ poses a dire threat to the country’s electoral institutions. Mainstream media is playing along, with a small foretaste published in the Toronto Star on December 2.]
Related: The Robert Mueller investigation into ‘Russian election interference’ takes aim, but is Trump in trouble?, by Aaron Maté, published in The Nation, Nov 30, 2018 … Just over 24 hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to step down in early November, tens of thousands of people turned out for protests in dozens of cities under the banner of ‘Protect Mueller’. While Sessions’s ouster elicited widespread anxiety over Mueller’s job safety, there was near-uniform silence over an outgoing decision by Sessions that puts at risk real lives…
Canada newsroll on A Socialist In Canada, November 2018
Analysts say Canadian-made weapons are being used by Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen, feature article by Martin Lukacs, The National Observer, Nov 30, 2018
Related: Canada follows U.S. lead in public relations exercise sanctioning 17 Saudi Arabia individuals over the Oct 2, 2018 murder of mainstream journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi embassy in Istanbul, report by CBC News, Nov 29, 2018
This is a dark day for press freedom in Canada, editorial by VICE Canada, Nov 30, 2018 and, report by CBC News, Nov 30, 2018 [VICE Canada signals its fidelity to mainstream media by buying into the “Russian trolls creating fake news on Facebook” trope. But that’s not enough to save it from a dark and troubling decision by Canada’s Supreme Court.]
King tide floods part of Vancouver’s seawall, offering glimpse into city’s future, by Jon Hernandez, CBC Vancouver News, Nov 29, 2018 Sea levels will likely rise up to 50 cm by 2050, and a full metre by 2100, says researcher
* King tides of the future could be ‘moments of terror’, by Ainslie Cruickshank, StarMetro Vancouver, Nov. 28, 2018 ‘This is wild. This is what 2050 will look like’
* More rain to hit B.C. and all eyes on the King Tide, by Amy Judd and Gord Macdonald, Global News (Canada), Nov 27, 2018 (with video report)
False oil price narrative used to scare Canadians into accepting Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, by Robyn Allan, published in The National Observer, Nov 26, 2018 [This is the first article by a Canadian economist to challenge the fraud being aggressively perpetrated by Canada’s oil industry, the Alberta and Canadian governments and pro-fossil fuel media ideologues saying that the low world price being fetched for Alberta tar sands bitumen (recently as low as US$14 per barrel) can be raised by adding more pipeline and railway capacity to ship its product to the United States for processing and refining. The capitalist world has a glut of oil and gas production, while Alberta’s bitumen and heavy oil is amongst the most expensive in the world to transport and process. Economist Robyn Allan explains in this article that most Alberta bitumen and heavy oil production is not affected by the steep price discount for Alberta product due to long-term supply contracts. The Alberta government and oil industry advocates are waging a propaganda war in favour of bitumen and crude oil while falsifying the truth about their pricing.]
Two investigations by mainstream media reveal the mega-billion dollar toxic waste legacy of western Canada’s oil and gas industries and report the public relations responses by governments and ‘regulators’:
* Alberta gov’t says it is ‘cracking down’ on oil and gas industry’s massive toxic waste dumps, by Emma McIntosh, The National Observer, Nov 27, 2018 … The Toronto Star, StarMetro Calgary and The National Observer published a joint investigation on November 23 that found the oil industry’s strategy to deal with a trillion litres of toxic bitumen mining waste — called tailings — is centred on an unproven process. Despite years of promises from public officials that the ponds where the tailings are stored would shrink and go away, they continue to grow and appear to be leaking into the nearby Athabasca River system, the investigation found…
* Alberta vows to impose oil, gas well-cleanup timelines on energy companies, by Jeff Lewis, environment reporter, and Renata D’Aliesio, in Calgary, Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 (subscriber only article)
Alberta has pledged to impose cleanup timelines on energy companies in a major policy shift to reduce growing financial and environmental risks tied to tens of thousands of idled oil and gas wells across the province. Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said on Monday she has also told the Alberta Energy Regulator to beef up oversight of energy companies’ financial health. But she stopped short of committing to legislative changes that would give the provincial regulator greater powers over corporate takeovers where the buyer has insufficient funds to meet cleanup obligations.
… The commitment comes after a six-month Globe and Mail investigation published this past weekend that revealed about 20 per cent of all oil and gas wells in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are inactive, and that there are 54,147 more idle wells in those three provinces than there were in 2005. [That Globe and Mail report is listed immediately below in ‘Related’.] Such wells no longer produce oil and gas, but have not been plugged. Another 84,569 wells have been abandoned, many of them for decades. Those wells have been filled with cement and capped because there is no profit left in them, but companies have not yet reclaimed the sites and restored the surrounding land to its original state.
The Globe investigation also detailed a brisk trade in distressed wells and other facilities, in which major companies routinely offload properties saddled with hefty cleanup obligations onto smaller players with scant ability to pay for remediation. The deals were approved even in cases where purchasers didn’t meet the Alberta regulator’s test for financial fitness. The deal-making has flourished since oil prices crashed in 2014, aggravating concerns over unfunded liabilities as a string of corporate bankruptcies punted hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs onto the wider industry and the public.
Neither Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bronwyn Eyre nor B.C. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall were available for an interview by deadline on Monday…
Ms. McCuaig-Boyd would not say when the province would introduce cleanup timelines, but the commitment comes amid a wider policy review to address the glut of dormant wells and future industry liabilities the provincial regulator has pegged as high as $260-billion…
Related: Oil industry in western Canada fails to clean up growing stockpile of abandoned wells, special report by Jeff Lewis and Chen Wang, Globe and Mail, Nov 25, 2018 (subscriber only article)
Canada’s biggest oil and gas companies are sitting on a massive backlog of abandoned oil and gas wells that has swelled into the tens of thousands as operators put off pricey remediation. A Globe and Mail examination of oil-well licensing data from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan shows that 84,569 wells have been abandoned in those three provinces. That is in addition to the 122,456 inactive sites tallied by the Globe as part of a six-month investigation published on November 24…
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is becoming a liability for federal Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, by Chantal Hébert, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov. 26, 2018 … Doug Ford’s ambition to play kingmaker in next fall’s federal election is really the first casualty of his mishandling [sic] of the Franco-Ontarian file…
General Motors cuts up to 14,000 jobs in global restructure, report in The New Daily (Australia), Nov 26, 2018
* From a report in Deutsche Welle, Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018: Plans were announced on Monday to cut the General Motors workforce by 15 percent in a move that will hit white-collar workers hardest, but would also see more than 6,000 production line jobs go as GM looks to invest in future technologies. These would most likely affect three assembly plants in Detroit, Ohio and Ontario as well as two factories in Michigan and Maryland that build transmissions and batteries…
* Head of ‘Unifor’ union at General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario slated for closure wants Canadian PM to join Donald Trump in imposing steep tariffs on GM vehicles assembled in Mexico, report by Global News, Nov 27, 2018 and see: Canada and United States urged to work together to fight GM plant closing, by Bruce Campion-Smith and Rob Ferguson, Toronto Star, Nov. 27, 2018 and The GM paradox: Sell more pick-ups, prepare for an electric car world, by Konrad Yakabuski, columnist, The Globe and Mail, Nov 27, 2018 (subscriber only article) Mary Barra envisions an all-electric future for General Motors. But to get there, she first needs to bank as much profit as possible by selling millions more gas-guzzling pick-up trucks. Therein lies the paradox of the strategy GM’s chief executive unveiled on Monday as she announced the elimination of six car models and the idling of five North American factories, including the Oshawa, Ont., facility that makes the soon-for-the-scrap-heap Chevrolet Impala sedan…
[Unifor president Jerry Dias worked closely with the Ottawa government in negotiating the (slightly) revised North American Free Trade Agreement this past year. He is endorsing Donald Trumps’s call for steep tariffs against automobiles assembled in Mexico and exported to the U.S. Dias wants Canada to follow Trump’s demagogic call for such tariffs. This begs the question, once again, of why so many left-wing people in Canada have failed to recognize that Unifor has always been a right-wing union embedded into the very fabric of Canada’s military/automobile-urban sprawl/fossil fuel nexus.]
Background: Canadian autoworkers pro-auto campaign goes against progressive trends in climate policy and political action, by Roger Annis, published in A Socialist In Canada, Aug 3, 2012 [The Unifor union was formed in 2013 though a merger of the Canadian Autoworkers union (CAW) with unions of paperworkers and oil industry workers. Unifor split from the Canadian Labour Congress in January 2013 in order to pursue raiding against other union affiliates of the CLC. Some 15 years prior to Unifor’s founding, the CAW broke from the union’s longstanding support to the social-democratic New Democratic Party to instead advocate support to the Liberal Party in the form of ‘strategic voting’. The Liberal Party and the Conservative Party are the two historic parties of Canadian capitalism.]
Tar sands waste is collected in sprawling toxic ponds. To clean them up, oil companies plan to pour water on them, by Emma McIntosh and David Bruser, investigative report in Toronto Star, part of an ongoing series ‘The Price of Oil’, Nov 23, 2018 Investigative Reporter Fri., Nov. 23, 2018 The oil industry’s strategy to deal with a trillion litres of toxic goop is centred on a process even the Alberta Energy Regulator calls unproven. One top scientist describes the claim that water capping will return land to a natural state an “impossible fantasy.”
The toxic waste of the Canadian oilpatch has been quietly spreading in the boreal forest since bitumen mining began here in the 1960s. The yogurt-like mix of clay, water, toxic acids, metals and leftover bitumen has sprawled in artificial ponds to cover an area twice the size of the city of Vancouver. More than one trillion litres of the goop, called tailings, fill these man-made waste lakes that can be seen from space. An equivalent amount of water would take five days to tumble over Niagara Falls.
The contaminated tailings ponds attract and kill migrating birds. They emit methane and other greenhouse gases. Despite years of public promises from officials that the tailings ponds would shrink and go away, they are growing. And in the meantime, troubling gaps are opening in the oversight system meant to ensure the oilpatch cleans up its mess. Alberta has collected only $1 billion from companies to help remediate tailings — a problem that is now estimated to cost about 100 times that…
Related: Alberta officials are signalling they have no idea how to clean up toxic tar sands tailings ponds, by Emma McIntosh and David Bruser, The National Observer, Nov 23, 2018
After massive oil spill, spotlight shifts to agency regulating the offshore industry in Newfoundland, CBC News, Nov 21, 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest-ever offshore oil spill has raised a storm of questions about who has the power to turn oil production on and off in risky situations. A powerful storm on November 16 caused 250,000 liters of oil to spill from the ‘Sea Rose’ drilling platform located some 350 km southeast of the Newfoundland coastline…
Alberta and Canada in ‘crisis’ over low prices for tar sands bitumen, Trudeau tells oil industry audience in Calgary, while pro-tar sands protest of thousands demands ‘build that pipeline’ to the Pacific coast, report by CBC News, Nov 22, 2018 and, short video news report on CBC, Nov 22, 2018 Demonstrators chant ‘build that [Trans Mountain] pipeline’ at pro-oil rally outside Calgary hotel where PM speaks
* Alberta exempts oil and natural gas drilling companies from its tame carbon tax, report by The Canadian Press, Nov 22, 2018 The exemption is retroactive to the start of 2017 when the tax was introduced at $20 per tonne of CO2 emissions, increasing to $30 per tonne on Jan 1, 2018. The exemption is expected to provide $750,000 to $1.5 million per year in relief for the drilling industry.
* Alberta Premier Notley wants government to finance expansion of railway shipments of tar sands bitumen to port of Vancouver and U.S. refiners, report by CBC News, Nov 23, 2018
Legal challenge by losing bidder in Canada’s $60 billion-plus warship enhancement program, by Lee Berthiaume, Canadian Press, Nov 21, 2018
Ottawa announces $16 billion in new corporate tax cuts in race to the bottom with U.S. of welfare for the rich, report in Global News, Nov 21, 2018 and, Finance Minister Morneau says corporate tax breaks needed to stop Canada losing business dollars to U.S., by Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star, Nov. 22, 2018
New report shows role of Export Development Canada in subsidizing fossil fuel investment and driving climate change, press release by Oil Change International, Nov 22, 2018 The report ‘Risking it all: How Export Development Canada’s support for fossil fuels drives climate change’ was published by Oil Change International in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Environmental Defence Canada, Equiterre, Above Ground and Climate Action Network Canada. The report can be found here (16-pages in pdf format).
BC government steps up greenwashing with plan for ‘all-electric’ automobiles by 2040 while simultaneously pressing to expand natural gas fracking in province’s northeast, report by CBC News, Nov 20, 2018 [The state-run CBC news agency plays along with the fossil-fuel promoting BC government by reporting as fact the government’s claim that electric vehicles are “emissions free”. Apparently, the manufacture of electric vehicles and their batteries, the production of the electricity they consume, the infrastructure to continually re-charge the vehicles’ batteries, and the building and maintenance of the roads on which the vehicles travel are “emissions free”. Likewise for the ongoing, urban sprawl which the vehicles are intended to serve. The “emissions free” claims by the government and the CBC are truly acts of magic, whereby the laws of physics and the science of global warming are made to disappear!]
British Columbia continues to lead Canada in child poverty, report by CBC News, Nov 20, 2018 One in five children continue to live in poverty in British Columbia, according to the latest child poverty report card. The report, released by the First Call B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition on Tuesday, covers statistics from 2016…
Longtime editorialist at Canada’s state-run CBC Rex Murphy mocks ‘global warming hype machine’ in his national media column, column by Rex Murphy, published in National Post, Nov 16, 2018 (and reprinted in the Postmedia chain of newspapers) [Think global warming deniers have gone the way of the dodo bird? Think again. For decades, Rex Murphy was a top performer and commentator on Canada’s state-run news/infotainment outlet the CBC. He has moved on to occupy a regular column preaching denial in the National Post.]
Canadian media reports with straight face the claims of war minister Sajjan that Russia plans to interfere in 2019 Canadian election. [Report by The Canadian Press, reproduced in state-run CBC, Postmedia and Globe and Mail. This latest article continues a trend, for example see report in Global News, Oct 9, 2018.]
New Conservative Party regime in Ontario is following the nihilist playbook of 1990s-era austerity premier Harris, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 18, 2018
‘Nothing has changed’ in use of solitary confinement with mentally ill prisoners by Ontario’s penal institutions, despite 2013 agreement with Ontario Human Rights Commission to reduce [not end] the practice, report by Jim Rankin, Toronto Star, Nov 17, 2018
Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian newspaper reporting, by Yves Engler, published in CounterPunch, Nov 16, 2018 (also published on Yves Engler’s website)
Indigenous women in Canada are being coerced into sterilizations, Canadian senator accuses, by Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press, Nov 12, 2018
* Class-action lawyer told of two coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Manitoba, CBC News, Nov 13, 2018 A lawyer representing Indigenous women who say they were forcibly sterilized in Saskatchewan says she’s heard from dozens of women with similar stories, including at least two incidents alleged to have happened in Manitoba hospitals. In one of the Manitoba incidents, the woman took her own life ten months after she was sterilized, said Alisa Lombard, a lawyer with Maurice Law. The woman was involved with Child and Family Services and there are questions about whether her consent was properly informed or if it was coerced through CFS or another child welfare agency, Lombard said…
* Two women allege coerced sterilization at Winnipeg hospitals, says lawyer, by Dylan Robertson, Winnipeg Free Press, Nov 13, 2018 A growing number of Indigenous women are coming forward with allegations they were unwillingly made infertile, including a Winnipeg woman who claims she was forcibly sterilized within the past decade. “I think it’s quite a bit bigger than what we know it to be,” Saskatoon-based lawyer Alisa Lombard told the Free Press… Lombard said more than 60 women have contacted her firm, Maurice Law — two of whom alleged incidents at Winnipeg hospitals, the most recent claim dating to 2009…
It’s hard to like Bombardier, by Thomas Walkom, national affairs columnist, Toronto Star, Nov. 12, 2018
It’s possible that Bombardier is not the biggest recipient of corporate welfare in Canadian history. That dubious honour might belong to the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was granted big chunks of valuable public land by the federal government in the 19th century. Or it might belong to the Hudson’s Bay Co., which was given suzerainty over much of what is now Canada by the British Crown in the 17th century.
But whatever its exact place in the subsidy ranking, Bombardier is certainly up there. The Quebec-based transportation giant and its predecessor companies have received close to $3 billion in government loans and grants over the years…
* Unifor union says Bombardier ‘betrayed’ the union with sale of ‘Q400’ aircraft division, by Nicholas Pratt, Globe and Mail, Nov 13, 2018 (subscriber only article) [Leaders of Unifor, one of Canada’s largest industrial unions, are key supporters of the militarization drive of the Canadian state and ruling class, including expansion of fossil fuel (tar sands) production in Alberta and spending tens of billions of dollars on new warships, fighter aircraft and army equipment. The tradeoff for Unifor’s support is supposed to be preservation of dues-paying jobs of Unifor members at Bombardier and other large enterprises (for example, at the equally, heavily- subsidized and climate-destroying auto assembly industry located in southern Ontario. Bombardier, however, has just announced layoffs of 2,500 aerospace workers in Montreal, 500 workers in Ontario and 2,000 more worldwide. It is also selling ‘Q400’ aircraft program that employs 2,000 workers in Toronto.] * Ottawa government writes off $2.6 billion in loans and accrued interest to Chrysler dating from 2009 financial collapse, CBC News, Oct 22, 2018
* Global warming, Canada’s unions and the new, climate change-denial government in Ottawa led by Justin Trudeau, by Roger Annis, published in A Socialist In Canada, Nov 29, 2015
Ontario still using Great Lakes as dumping ground for its sewage, agricultural runoff and industrial pollution, report by Kristin Rushowy, Toronto Star, Nov. 13, 2018 An “astonishing amount” of pollution still flows into Ontario’s lakes and rivers and the government must take action, says the province’s environmental watchdog. The main pollutants are raw municipal sewage, agricultural manure or fertilizer runoff, toxic waste and road salt, Dianne Saxe said on November 13 in releasing her annual report…
Ottawa government’s appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. commences on Nov 13, by Camille Bains, The Canadian Press, Nov 12, 2018
British Columbia’s top court is set to hear the federal government’s appeal of a ruling that said indefinite solitary confinement of prisoners is unconstitutional and causes permanent harm. The B.C. Court of Appeal hearing to commence on November 13 follows a lower-court decision in January 2018 that gave the government one year to draft new legislation with time limits on segregation.
Ottawa filed an appeal of the B.C. Supreme Court ruling in February, saying it needed clarity because an earlier decision by the Ontario Superior Court also struck down parts of the so-called administrative segregation law but it was a more limited judgment. The Court of Appeal for Ontario will hear a separate challenge by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which argues the lower court in Ontario court should have imposed independent oversight for how long prisoners can be segregated…
* Canada goes to appeal court to salvage its torture policy (solitary confinement) in prison system, report by CBC News, Nov 12, 2018
* Solitary confinement by another name is just as cruel, op-ed column by Kim Pate, senator in Canada’s appointed Senate, published in Globe and Mail, Nov 12, 2018 (Senator Kim Pate was executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.) Government legislation billed as eliminating the damaging and dangerous practice of administrative segregation – better known as solitary confinement – is in reality, a cynical exercise that merely rebrands this cruel treatment. I am shocked by the linguistic trickery in Bill C-83: ‘An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act’ and another act …
Maxine Bernier: Canada’s right wing, Donald Trump wannabe. Three columns in mainstream news outlets:
* Mad Max (Bernier) is proving he is a political force, by Thomas Walkom, national affairs columnist, Toronto Star, Nov. 12, 2018
* Echoes of Trump resound at Maxine Bernier’s rally in Calgary, by Gillian Steward, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov. 12, 2018
* Maxime Bernier goes to a dark place, by John Ibbitson, conservative columnist, Globe and Mail, Nov 12, 2018
[The first, large public rallies in western Canada by Maxine Bernier took place in Vancouver on November 8 and Calgary on November 9. The rally in Calgary, attended by some 400 people, mostly older men, was hosted by the fringe, far-right ‘Rebel Media‘ outlet. Bernier was a Stephen Harper loyalist. He split from the Conservative Party in August 2018 and founded the People’s Party. He rejects the science of global warming and wants a ‘Canada First’ policy that would uphold the pillars of Canadian capitalism, persecute immigrants and refugees, and continue Canada’s warmaking course using anti-United Nations rhetoric.]
Economic cost of Canadian oil price discounts counted in billions of dollars, by Dan Healing, The Canadian Press, Nov 11, 2018 [A key element of the industry, government and media drumbeat in Canada favour of building new pipelines to transport planned increases in Alberta tar sands (bitumen) production is that new pipelines will fetch higher prices for the product at refineries in Texas and Asia. This article in The Canadian Press is an example of the drumbeat. Currently, Alberta bitumen prices are at historic lows. The drumbeat says that the lack of pipeline capacity to Texas and to the Pacific Ocean coastline in Vancouver is responsible for the low prices. But this is nonsensical. It is the glut of world oil production and the high cost of transporting, upgrading and then refining bitumen that is causing low prices. There is no left-wing or environmental economist in Canada analyzing and explaining the non-sensical argument in favour of more pipelines.]
We must criminalize gun possession in Canada, op-ed commentary by Vahan Kololian, published in Globe and Mail, Nov 11, 2018 (Vahan Kololian is chairman of the The Mosaic Institute.)
Related: 90th murder in Toronto in 2018 sets new annual record, report by CBC News, Nov 18, 2018
50,000 people march in Montreal demanding action to mitigate global warming, by Catherine Solyom, Montreal Gazette, November 10, 2018 The November 10 march was the biggest in Quebec since the Earth Day protest of 2012, which took place in the midst of the historic student strike [The march did not propose specific demands on the Candian government or world leaders. It offered no path forward to confront the global warming emergency apart from ‘protest’. That’s why ministers of the new, right-wing provincial government in Quebec comfortably took part in the march. Quebec’s state-run entity Hydro Québec produces and sells vast quantities of hydro-electricity to the United States generated by its vast reservoirs along flooded rivers on unceded First Nations lands in the north of the province. Such are the ‘green’ credentials of political parties in Quebec and of the province’s mainstream environmental movement.]
Toronto’s ravines are an ecological wasteland, by Francine Kopun, Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2018 … The biodiversity and ecological health of Toronto’s ravines has declined to a critical level and they are now likely on the edge of ecological collapse…
* Toronto beats NYC, Paris, London in new tree ranking, but experts say more work needed, CBC News, Jan 4, 2017 … Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently launched their Treepedia project in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Using Google Street View, they measured the percentage of land covered by trees in 12 cities across the world. At 19.5 per cent, Toronto ranked fifth — ahead of Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris. Vancouver took the top spot with 25.9 per cent…
* Vancouver gradually losing tree cover to real-estate development, by Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight (print weekly), April 30th, 2018 A little over 20 years ago, a fifth of Vancouver was covered by trees. But since 1995, the city has been gradually losing its tree cover as properties are cleared for new developments… A report to the Vancouver board of parks and recreation notes that the urban forest canopy is “incrementally decreasing”. The report prepared by Nick Page and Dave Hutch, both with the planning and research department, stated that the current urban forest canopy covers 18 percent of the city…
* Historical society says Surrey BC is allowing too many trees to fall, by Amy Reid, Surrey Now-Leader, June 20, 2017 [Surrey BC is Canada’s largest suburb by area. Its tree cover is in decline due to urban sprawl. “Surrey is being lawn-mowed” says Surrey Historical Society president.]
Foreign minister orders review of Canada’s foreign aid to Afghanistan after report on U.S. aid exposes billions of dollars of squandered and stolen funds, ineffectual or non-existent projects, report in Globe and Mail, Nov 8, 2018 [Conveniently, Canada has no formal process to review its hundreds of millions of dollars in ‘foreign aid’ spending in Afghanistan. But the U.S. does have such a process, and its findings of billions of dollars of wasted or stolen funds are another damning expose of ‘aid as imperialism’. The U.S. findings have prompted Canada to undertake a public relations, damage-control initiative.]
* Billions in aid to Afghanistan wasted, including money from Canada, U.S. agency finds, report in Globe and Mail, Nov 7, 2018 … The U.S. Special Inspector-General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a report to Congress that aid money has gone to build medical clinics without electricity or water, schools without children and buildings that literally melted away in the rain. Also, corrupt local officials who were in charge of paying workers with some of the funds created what the audits called “ghost workers,” civilian bureaucrats, police and soldiers who did not exist, then kept or diverted money recorded as being paid to them. “There is a lot of corruption, [but] most of what we have identified are just head-smacking stupid programs and really poorly managed and no accountability. Nobody is really held accountable for wasting the money,” Special Inspector-General John Sopko said in an interview with The Globe and Mail…
* Oversight of U.S. Spending in Afghanistan, testimony by John F. Sopko before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management of the U.S. Senate, May 9, 2018 (seven-page pdf)
Students want Ontario to scrap student minimum wage that is lower than that paid to adults, by Sara Mojtehedzadh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Nov 9, 2018 [Students under the age of 18 are paid $13.15 per hour in Ontario, compared to the adult minimum wage of $14. Raises to the minimum wage by the Liberal Party government defeated in the June 7, 2018 election maintained that discriminatory gap. The new, right-wing government plans no change; its proposed Bill 47 will freeze both minimum wage rates except for small, annual increases supposedly to match inflation.]
Prime Minister Trudeau sideswipes Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions movement during official apology for Canada’s past, murderous anti-Jewish laws and actions, Middle East Eye, Nov 7, 2018
Ottawa rejects senators’ demand to give greater weight to human rights in arms deals, by Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Nov 6, 2018 [Even the Canadian senators’ appearance of concern over arms sales to Saudi Arabia proves too much for the Trudeau-led Liberal Party government in Ottawa.]
U.S. judge halts Keystone XL pipeline construction, CBC News, Nov 8, 2018 … Greenpeace Canada climate campaigner Mike Hudema said the ruling is a significant setback for TransCanada’s Keystone XL project and a big win for Indigenous groups and environmental defenders. “This should also be huge warning sign to the Liberal government in Ottawa [and the NDP government in Edmonton] about the inevitable legal hurdles they will face if they continue to rush and curtail the Trans Mountain assessment process,” he wrote in a statement. “We can’t afford new fossil fuel infrastructure if we want to save the planet.” …
Former Conservative cabinet minister, drug war hypocrite and member of top ‘national security’ ctte. Tony Clement stands revealed as sexual degenerate, report in Toronto Star, Nov 8, 2018 [Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer only booted MP Clement out of the party’s Parliamentary caucus after more women came forward with stories of Clement’s internet conduct and news went public of Clement’s claim he was being blackmailed over sexual images of himself he was posting via social media. After giving Clement the boot, Scheer stated, “People are capable of having lapses of judgment, unexpected lapses of judgment. People make mistakes…”]
Ontario’s throwback approach to labour law is no way to craft policy, commentary by Jim Stanford, Globe and Mail, Nov 9, 2018 [The Globe and Mail‘s house Keynesian economist reviews the slashes to labour law reform being taken by the new, right-wing government in Ontario.]
Alberta’s NDP government and Conservative Party opposition agree there’s no need for special debate in the legislature over reported $260 billion liability for oil and gas industry cleanup, by Emma McIntosh, The National Observer, Nov 6, 2018
* Alberta’s oil and gas industry regulator is scrambling in damage control mode after report shows its public estimates of oil industry cleanup costs are grossly underreported, by Emma McIntosh (StarMetro Calgary), Steph Wechsler and Mike De Souza (National Observer) and Carolyn Jarvis (Global News), published on Nov. 1, 2018 in Toronto Star and in National Observer
[In a presentation to oil and gas industry executives in February 2018 (see report in ‘Related’), Robert Wadsworth, vice-president of closure and liability of the Alberta Energy Regulator, showed that the oil industry’s calculation of $58 billion in financial liabilities is based on self-reported numbers from industry. Wadsworth’s heretofore secret $260 billion estimate, meanwhile, was “calculated internally” by AER’s own experts. Currently, the oil and gas industry in Alberta has submitted about $1.6 billion in security deposits to cover liability costs. These costs include cleanup and remediation of expired oil and gas extraction sites, pipelines, and toxic tar sands tailing ponds.]
* Alberta fossil fuel industry regulator privately estimates financial liabilities are hundreds of billions more than what it told the public, by Mike De Souza (National Observer), Carolyn Jarvis (Global News) and Emma McIntosh and David Bruser (Toronto Star), report published in The National Observer, Oct 31, 2018 and in Toronto Star (page one), Nov 1, 2018 Cleaning up Alberta’s fossil fuel industry could cost an estimated $260 billion, internal documents of Alberta’s oil industry regulator warn. The staggering financial liabilities for the fossil fuel industry’s graveyard of spent facilities were spelled out by a high-ranking official of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in a February presentation to a private audience in Calgary. AER vice-president Robert Wadsworth told the crowd, “We can continue down our current path until the impacts are felt by the public … or we can start to implement the numerous changes that we now know need to be made.” The estimated liabilities for the oil-rich western Canadian province are far higher than any liability amount made public by government and industry officials…
* Alberta Energy Regulator CEO announces resignation following reports that the agency has grossly understated the long-term liability costs of oil and gas industry in the province, CBC News, Nov 2, 2018
* Alberta premier Rachel Notley gets hero’s welcome at convention of British Columbia division of Steelworkers union, by Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week, Oct 31, 2018 ‘Notley’s appearance resembled an election rally, with raucous cheers from a packed room of sign-waving steelworkers.’ [From tar sands in Alberta to natural gas fracking and forest clearcutting in British Columbia, the soul-less Steelworkers union has never seen planet-destroying natural resource plunder that it does not support.]
The Canadian government and nuclear industry are embarked down a path of small nuclear reactors. Articles:
* Are thousands of new nuclear generators in Canada’s future?, by M.V. Ramana, published in The Tyee, Nov 7, 2018 Ottawa is pushing a new smaller, modular nuclear plant that could only pay off if mass produced. (M. V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India, (2012).
* Ontario Power Generation partners with U.S. firm in push for small-modular nuclear reactors, by Shawn McCarthy, global energy reporter, in Globe and Mail, Nov 8, 2018 (subscriber-only article)
* Canada risks ‘climate change detour’if new nuclear reactors are built, say environmental groups in open letter, by Zi-Ann Lum, Huffington Post Canada, Nov 6, 2018 ‘We don’t need nuclear energy to solve the climate crisis.’
* Government urged to halt push for new fleet of nuclear reactors, open letter by more than 20 environmental organizations in Canada, published on the website of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Oct 30, 2018
New Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart says he loves ‘the growth side of things’, by Patrick Condon, The Tyee, Nov 6, 2018 (Patrick Condon is the James Taylor chair in Landscape and Livable Environments at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.)
[Kennedy Stewart says he is really looking forward to “the growth side of things” once he solves the city’s housing crisis. The new mayor is a clone of the discredited, outgoing mayor Gregor Robertson. He is dismissing the lesson of the October 21 election in which Robertson and his ‘Vision’ electoral machine were rejected because of their misguided faith in the power of growth and the private housing industry to solve all problems.
[The candidates of the soft-left Green, One City and COPE munipal election apparatuses ran on platforms rejecting Vision’s blinkered faith that markets, properly incentivized, could deliver affordable housing. Kennedy Stewart clings to a belief that should have been more deeply probed and challenged during the campaign — that city hall can leverage private investment to solve the housing crisis. It’s a faith in capitalism growth that Stewart inherits from Vision. And it has a name: globalized capitalism.]
* Urban sprawl and condominium highrises run amok at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, news article by Joanne Lee-Young, in Vancouver Sun, Nov 4, 2018 [Newly elected mayor Kennedy Stewart is pursuing the same multi-billion dollar rapid transit line from downtown Vancouver to the University of British Columbia as his discredited predecessor. The transit line will further boost the booming real estate industry on university lands. Crucially, the proposed expenditure of billions of dollars for the transit line has never been subject to a referendum. That’s because a referendum process would serve to air uncomfortable questions about why rapid transit funding in the Vancouver region serves to boost private housing for the wealthy and does nothing for public housing for the working classes. Kennedy Stewart is a clone of three-term, Gregor Robertson who did not run for re-election in the October 21, 2018 municipal election because of his discredited record in facilitating Vancouver’s grim real estate bubble. Stewart and Robertson both left jobs as elected politicians for New Democratic Party to capture the mayoral job plum.] * Canada has a broken housing system that has screwed over millenials, by Drew Brown, VICE Canada News, Oct 29, 2018
Canadian PM Trudeau won’t stop $12bn of arms sales to Saudi Arabia after Jamal Khashoggi’s death because money always wins over murder, by Robert Fisk, The Independent, Nov 2, 2018 The Canadian prime minister may have condemned the actions of the Saudi regime, but his position over light-armoured vehicle sales to the kingdom tells us everything we need to know
Police-related deaths in northern Canada territory of Nunavut are nine times higher than in Ontario, by Thomas Rohner, special to the Toronto Star, Nov 5, 2018 There have been 14 police-related deaths in Nunavut since the territory’s creation in 1999, all of them Inuit and all of whom died in RCMP custody or after an interaction with the Mounties. The RCMP is the only police force in Nunavut, population 38,000, and runs jails in all 25 Nunavut communities…
British Columbia faces lawsuit over gas fracking dams being exempted from environmental review, by Bob Weber, The Canadian Press, Nov 5, 2018
* Secret deals exempting natural resource extraction projects from environmental review, by Ben Parfitt, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Oct 31, 2018
* Easy water: Time bombs, fracking dams and the rush for H2O on private farmlands, by Ben Parfitt, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Mar 29, 2018
The number of unlicensed and potentially dangerous dams built in recent years in northeast British Columbia is nearly double what has been reported, according to one of the province’s top water officials. At least 92 unauthorized dams have been built in the region where natural gas industry fracking operations consume more water than just about anywhere on earth. That’s far more than the 51 dams previously identified in documents obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). With the number of unlicensed dams built to impound freshwater used in fracking operations approaching 100, more questions are being raised about how so many structures were built without provincial agencies halting their construction…
* Unauthorized fracking dam problem growing, by Ben Parfitt, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Mar 29, 2018 (first in an article series in The Tyee)
* Regulatory breakdown as fracking companies in BC’s northeast build dozens of unauthorized dams, report by Ben Parfitt, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, May 3, 2017 A subsidiary of Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned petro giant courted by the BC government, has built at least 16 unauthorized dams in northern BC to trap hundreds of millions of gallons of water used in its controversial fracking operations. The 16 dams are among “dozens” that have been built by Petronas and other companies without proper authorizations, a senior dam safety official with the provincial government told the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which began investigating the problem in late March after receiving a tip from someone with knowledge of how widespread the problem is…
After court decision rejecting First Nations opposition, what’s next for construction of Site C hydroelectric dam in northeast British Columbia?, by Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, Oct 30, 2018 The hopes of the two Treaty 8 First Nations that lost an injunction against the project last week are buoyed by the judge’s order that a full civil trial be conducted by 2023 to address — once and for all — if treaty rights are being violated … The question of whether the Site C dam violates treaty rights has never been tested in the courts. Normally, a full civil trial would not be heard for at least three to six years, but BC Supreme Court Justice Warren Milman ordered that the full civil trial be concluded by 2023. That’s the earliest the Site C reservoir would inundate 83 kilometres of the Peace River Valley and 45 kilometres of tributary valleys with up to 50 metres of water.
* BC government legislation will require ‘informed consent’ of First Nations for industrial projects, but stops short of UN guideline recognizing right of veto, report by Justine Hunter, in Globe and Mail, Nov 5, 2018
* Site C dam facing ‘extremely high probability’ of major construction delay, says expert witness, by Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, July 19, 2018 A report submitted as evidence in a First Nations injunction hearing finds significant setbacks could further complicate the project already behind schedule and over budget … Site C is the largest publicly funded infrastructure project in B.C.’s history, with a price tag that has already ballooned from $6.6 billion to the latest, late 2017, estimate of $10.7 billion…
* * Site C hydroelectric dam: A Shakespearean tragedy of BC politics, book review by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, June 25, 2018 Reviewing: Breaching the Peace, by Sarah Cox, UBC Press, 2018, 312 pp, ISBN 9780774890267
* More questions than answers in BC Utilities Commission’s preliminary report on Site C hydroelectric dam in Northeast British Columbia, by Simon Little, CKNW News, Sept 20, 2017
Inquiry into ‘Muskrat Falls’ hydroelectric dam boondoggle in Newfoundland hears that concerns by mid-level bureaucrats never reached the top, CBC News, Nov 5, 2018
Related: ‘Optimism bias’ is a common cause of cost overruns, expert says at public inquiry over $12.7B Muskrat Falls dam, by The Canadian Press, Sept 17, 2018 [Due to the massive cost overruns of building the nearly-complete Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam (aka ‘Lower Churchill Project’), residents of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador are staring at the prospect of the doubling of electricity rates in the coming years. This in a province of only 530,000 people.]
Alberta NDP MLA Robyn Luff removed from caucus after alleging bullying within party, by Clare Clancy and Emma Graney, Edmonton Journal (Postmedia), Nov 5, 2018 New Democrat Party member for Calgary-East Robyn Luff is refusing to sit in the Alberta legislature in protest over her treatment by party brass. In a letter that ended up getting her kicked out of government caucus today, Luff alleged bullying at the hands of NDP leadership, including Premier Rachel Notley, saying there is a “culture of fear and intimidation that leads to MLAs being unable to properly represent their constituents in the legislature.” In a press release issued late the same day, the NDP said the decision was made to remove Luff from caucus following a meeting of NDP MLAs…
* Alberta NDP government operates according to ‘a culture of fear and intimidation,’ party MLA says, by Michelle Bellefontaine, CBC News, Monday, Nov 5, 2018 A Calgary MLA says she will refuse to sit in the legislature to protest what she calls “a culture of fear and intimidation” within the NDP government that prevents members from properly representing their constituents. Calgary-East MLA Robyn Luff made the allegations in a letter sent to the media Monday morning. In it, Luff said Albertans are poorly served by a system that requires MLAs to vote party lines in all cases, where questions are pre-written by ministries and even statements and questions in committee meetings are scripted…
* Booted from NDP caucus, Alberta MLA Robyn Luff wants investigation into bullying of MLAs by Premier RAchel Notley and her staff, Edmonton Journal, Nov 9, 2018
Ontario premier’s fight against carbon pricing puts us on the wrong side of history, by David Olive, business columnist, Toronto Star, Nov. 2, 2018
* Carbon taxes on coal-fired power plants to affect only some emissions, by Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press, Nov 2, 2018 Coal-fired power plants in Canada will pay to keep polluting once the federal government imposes a carbon price but, like other heavy emitters in Canada, they won’t pay for every tonne of greenhouse gas they produce…
* Ottawa easing proposed carbon tax for big emitters, CTV National News, Aug 1, 2018
* ‘It’s very misleading’: Energy experts critique Canada’s rosy claims for its proposed, $20 per tonne carbon tax, by James Wilt, The Narwhal, May 4, 2018 (The Narwhal is a successor to the online DeSmog Canada.) According to an analysis by Simon Fraser University energy economist Mark Jaccard, the federal carbon pricing policy will only reduce emissions by 10 to 15 million tonnes below 2005 levels — but it will take until 2030 to get there. So the federal government’s claim of a 80 to 90 million tonnes reduction by 2022 is raising some eyebrows. “When I see that, I’m like ‘oh come on guys, you’re trying to pull a fast one on us’ “, Marc Lee, senior economist at the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives, told DeSmog Canada. “People who ought to know better are just uncritically praising it.” …
[The otherwise critical Narwhal writer provides his own greenwashing when he praises the existing, $30 per tonne carbon tax in British Columbia: “B.C. has been a shining example of a carbon tax that is both effective and popular with the public.” British Columbia’s carbon tax does not apply to the operations of the natural gas fracking industry nor to other, large, industrial polluters (climate vandals). The province’s own, declared greenhouse gas emissions reduction projections have long been a greenwashing ruse. This continues with the NDP government elected in 2017. It has fully embraced expansion of natural gas fracking to feed a projected liquefied natural gas industry. The gas might also be sold for use in the Alberta tar sands. Meanwhile,
he current BC government continues the vast, forest clearcutting allowances of the conservative government that preceeded it. See: Don’t believe the hype on BC’s carbon tax, by Marc Lee, senior economist, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, March 3, 2016]
* A reality check on a national carbon price, by Marc Lee, senior economist, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Oct 4, 2016
Canada’s state broadcaster the CBC and Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, commentary by Jon Beasley-Murray, published in The Tyee, Nov 1, 2018 … An article (and tweets) on CBC seeking good news for Canada on what many agree is a dark day for Brazil has sparked fierce criticism. And rightly so. It was parochial, insensitive and cynical, portraying a troubling break in Latin America’s democratic consensus as though it were business as normal…
Related: After election win in Brazil by Jair Bolsonaro, world’s capitalists salivate over ‘new investment opportunities’, by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, Oct 29, 2018
[Far more sinister and amoral than the CBC‘s news reporting of the Brazil election has been Canada’s and the CBC‘s support during the past nearly five years to the extreme-right government in Ukraine and its paramilitary, new-Nazi legions. For its part, alternative media in Canada has bowed to anti-Russia propaganda and prejudice, so it does not wish to understand or report events in Ukraine.]
Canada newsroll on A Socialist In Canada, October 2018
Game over for the planet: Canada’s National Energy Board projects that Canadian oil and gas production will skyrocket in the coming decades, report by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, Oct 31, 2018 … The report, titled Canada’s Energy Future, forecasts domestic oil production will grow by 58 per cent and natural gas production will grow 29 per cent between now and 2040, while domestic energy demand grows by just five per cent or less…
[Typical of mainstream news reports on the tar sands industry in Alberta, this one is filled with false arguments that pipeline constraints, not the high cost of transporting and processing tar sands bitumen, lie behind record-low wholesale prices for bitumen. Meanwhile, the projections of oil and gas production by National Energy Board report are not cutting edge science, but it does show the intentions of those who own and operate tar sands and gas fracking operations along with the provincial and federal governments that give the ok to industry plans.]
Globe and Mail daily intensifies its agitation for Canadian gov’t sanctions against China. [The latest, two anti-China front-page stories appear in The Globe and Mail daily on Oct 30, 2018 and Oct 31, 2018. The newspaper’s editors and writers are agitating for the Canadian government to restrict or stop university researchers from China from research collaboration with Canadian universities on matters of new technology, for example in secure communications and processing of satellite and drone data. The Globe‘s October 30 story gets a follow-up article on October 31, this one bringing in the authority of Canada’s international spy service, The Canadian Security Intelligence Service. CSIS warns that university research in Canada is “of interest to foreign states” and that foreign states’ use of such work poses potential (emphasis added) harm to “Canada’s national interests”. The Globe and Mail is steadily increasing the number of its articles sitting behind paywalls. But stories promoting anti-China and anti-Russia prejudice and hostility remain freely accessible. ]
Canadian wildlife populations dropping in ‘global biodiversity crisis’ says World Wildlife Fund, report by The Canadian Press, Oct 30, 2018 (and, Humanity is ‘sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff’ with 60 per cent of Earth’s wildlife wiped out since 1970, World Wildlife Fund warns in 2018 Living Planet Report, by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Oct 30, 2018) Canadian wildlife are not exempt from a “global biodiversity crisis” that is devastating worldwide animal populations, according to a stark new report by the World Wildlife Fund. The group says in its 2018 Living Planet Report [75-page report] that global wildlife populations have fallen by 60 per cent in the last four decades…
Across Canada, caribou are on course for extinction, a prominent expert warns, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, Oct 29, 2018 (with chart and map) At a conference in Ottawa this week, Justina Ray will lay out grim predictions for animals First Nations have depended on for generations. She is a conservation biologist and Canadian president of the Wildlife Conservation Society and has co-led the work on behalf of the independent body that advises the Canadian government on the status of endangered wildlife.
… scientists are recommending that the barren-ground caribou in northern Canada be listed as threatened, while the eastern migratory caribou – whose numbers have plummeted from more than one million to about 225,000 animals – qualify as endangered, the highest level of threat.
… the Natural Resources Defense Council, based in Washington, is calling on Ottawa to employ a “safety net order” that would supersede provincial authority to protect boreal caribou habitat.
… The caribou are among the most visible of the approximately 16,700 species that have suffered an average 60-per-cent decline since 1970, according to a new World Wildlife Fund report released on October 29…
Related: Ottawa is failing to protect caribou in British Columbia threatened by extinction from natural resource plunder, report by Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail, Oct 28, 2018
‘Amoral’ report on Canada’s state broadcaster CBC hails ‘fresh opportunities’ in Brazil for Canadian mining companies following election of far-right president, report by Chris Hatch, in National Observer, Oct 30, 2018 (The original CBC report is here: ‘What a far-right Bolsonaro presidency means for Canadian business’, by Chris Arsenault, CBC News, Oct 26, 2018)
Meet the Canadian soldiers behind a white supremacist military surplus store, investigative report by Erin Seatter and Jon Milton, Ricochet Media, Oct 29, 2018
Federal Conservative Party and its leader Andrew Scheer step up criticism of media and reporters, by Daniel LeBlanc, Globe and Mail, Oct 26, 2018
Related: Solo right-wing extremist and Trump supporter arrested in Florida for spree of mail bombs to Democratic Party liberals and ‘liberal media’, report by Michael Biesecker and Stephen Braun, Associated Press, Oct 27, 2018
Canadian PM Trudeau’s latest defense for selling arms to Saudi Arabia argues that cancellation could cost ‘billions’, by Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press, Oct 25, 2018 The price for registering Canada’s outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi went up exponentially on October 25 as Justin Trudeau revealed the penalty for cancelling a $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia would be “in the billions of dollars” …
* The sale must go on: Canadian PM Trudeau sticks to US$12 billion arms deal with Saudis despite Khashoggi killing, RT, Oct 24, 2018
* The Khashoggi affair and the future of Saudi Arabia, by Daniel Lazare, contributor, Consortium News, Oct 25, 2018
* Governments in U.S., Europe and Canada squirm and dodge as their arms peddling to Saudi Arabia continues, by Frank Jordans and Aritz Parra, Associated Press, Oct 24, 2018
For the second time in a decade, a Liberal leader is staking his future on Canada’s acceptance of a carbon tax, by Chantal Hébert, columnist, Toronto Star, Oct. 25, 2018
* How liberals and conservatives have traded places on carbon pricing, by Martin Regg Cohn, Ontario politics columnist, Toronto Star, Oct. 26, 2018 … Notwithstanding Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s fulminations, this week’s embrace of pollution pricing by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t proof of a left-wing plot to pick the pockets of Canadians. To the contrary, it is evidence of a remarkable role reversal — the culmination of conservative political thought and the triumph of right-wing market forces now being adopted by mainstream politicians…
* Can a carbon tax solve climate change? Well, no, by David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, Oct 24, 2018 [In preparation for a fall 2019 national election, the Canadian government is embarked on a ‘climate leadership plan’ including introduction of a national carbon tax (or equivalent in provinces crafting a distinct ‘plan’) at the paltry rate of $20 per tonne of CO2 emissions. In this otherwise informative commentary, the visionary writer David Wallace-Wells steps into the world of the bizarre when he writes approvingly of the idea of “building a planet-wide fleet of carbon-capture machines” to tackle the global warming emergency.] * Climate change and growth: Examining the economic theory of ‘Nobel Prize for economics’ winners William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, by Michael Roberts, published on his website blog, Oct 9, 2018 [The Nobel Prize for economics is formally titled the ‘Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences’.] * The Nobel Prize in climate chaos: Romer, Nordhaus and the IPCC, by Gareth Dale, published in The Ecologist (UK), Oct 12, 2018
Inside the charity network that has helped wealthy donors get big tax breaks – and their donations back, by Kathy Tomlinson, Globe and Mail, Oct 24, 2018 (subscriber only article) … A Globe and Mail investigation has discovered that Theanon was part of a cluster of related foundations that are still doing business. They were all set up by one law firm and do little but hold donated assets and transfer them between themselves. Some bankroll multimillion-dollar projects – including for-profit businesses – supported by the law firm and its clients. Tax returns show that, in a few cases, assets or loan payments actually flow back to the original donors or their private foundations…
Related: Ottawa urged to tighten charity rules after multimillion-dollar tax break revelations, by Kathy Tomlinson, Globe and Mail, Oct 25, 2018 (subscriber only article) Revelations that wealthy Canadians are getting multimillion-dollar tax breaks for charitable donations that do not go to working charities are prompting calls for more powers for federal tax auditors and stricter rules on how much money foundations must give away… Canada has two types of charities: Foundations are required to bring in donations solely to fund charity, while registered charities are supposed to spend money doing good works…
Several people in the charity sector are urging action as a result of a Globe and Mail investigation that discovered a web of highly unusual arrangements set up by Vancouver lawyer Blake Bromley, who said he has facilitated some $2-billion in donations over four decades, most to charities his law firm set up…
Cruelly neglected and abused for a century, Lubicon Lake First Nation in Alberta finally wins recognition and compensation for territorial and social rights, The Canadian Press, Oct 24, 2018 [Some 700 people live in Little Buffalo, northern Alberta. They are members of the Lubicon Lake band, a First Nation that has never signed a treaty with the government and a community where living conditions are deplorable. “We are probably about the only community in northern Alberta that doesn’t have running water. Our infrastructure is basically non-existent,” explains Chief Billy Joe Laboucan.]
Related: We all have a role to play in reconciliation, op-ed commentary by Chief Billy Joe Laboucan of the Lubicon Lake First Nation, published in Calgary Herald, Mar 20, 2015
Why is Canadian crude selling for $20 per barrel?, by Nick Cunningham, Oil Price.com, Oct 23, 2018 (and reprinted on RT, Oct 25, 2018) [This article makes the nonsensical argument that “In early 2018, the discount [difference between U.S. and Canadian benchmark crude oil prices] started to grow significantly, the result of Canadian pipelines filled to the brim [emphasis added].” And, “The inability of the Canadian oil industry to build a major pipeline from Alberta to either the U.S. or the Pacific Ocean is increasingly dragging down Western Canadian Select” [the benchmark price for Canada crude oil based on the prices for tar sands bitumen and conventional crude oil, mistakenly called ‘Western Crude Select’ by Oil Price.com]. This argument is presented ad nauseum by oil-friendly media in Canada and internationally. The truth is closer to this explanation contained in the same Oil Price.com article (go figure): “The lower price [of Western Canadian Select compared to West Texas Intermediate] reflects quality issues [ie the high component of tar sands bitumen in Canadian pipeline shipments, which costs more to process then refine] as well as the cost of transport from Alberta to refineries in the U.S.”
Related: U.S. Gulf Coast refiners are paying premium prices for Canadian oil, but only 450,000 bpd make it there, by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post (Postmedia chain), Oct 24, 2018 A barrel of heavy Canadian oil trading at US$19.49 in Hardisty, Alta., is fetching US$64.74 in Houston
Quebec to bar all civil servants from wearing Muslim chador, niqab and burka, Global News, Oct 24, 2018 [The Quebec Liberal Party government defeated in Quebec’s October 1 election tabled Bill 62 in October 2017 aiming to ban giving or receiving public services while wearing a niqab. It was swiftly met with legal challenges and has since been suspended by the courts.]
Related: UN Human Rights Committee rules that France’s niqab ban violates human rights by leaving Muslim women ‘confined at home’, by Tom Barnes, The Independent, Oct 24, 2018
Neo-Nazis in Canada seek military training by joining the army, by Ben Makuch and Mack Lamoureux, VICE Canada, Oct 22 2018 … General Jonathan Vance, Canada’s chief of defence staff, has told the Toronto Star that right-wing extremism is tough to spot: “it is not as visible, not as many complaints coming from inside the Forces about it. It’s quite easy to hide.” But VICE has uncovered more evidence—gleaned from open sources accessible to the Canadian military—of neo-Nazis planning military infiltration to learn combat skills via the reserves…
Western nations, such as the US and Canada, recently permitted the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine—including javelin anti-tank weapons, which Russia has taken extreme exception to. When asked about the presence of Right Sector on the frontline of the war in Ukraine, in light of the new arms deal, the CIA—which was instrumental in identifying what it considered moderate rebel groups in Syria and arming them with weapons—declined to comment on this story.
The Canadian government was equally as cryptic in its response to alleged far-right militiamen continuing to fight on the frontlines in Ukraine. “Canada’s position is clear: we condemn Russia’s pattern of unacceptable international behaviour,” said Global Affairs spokesperson John Babcock. “This includes Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea, the violence perpetuated by Russian-backed forces in Eastern Ukraine, and Russia’s continued support for the Assad regime in Syria…”
Trans Mountain pipeline opponents say National Energy Board making same mistakes that led federal court to overturn NEB ruling, by Emilee Gilpin, National Observer, Oct 23, 2018 Opponents of the Trans Mountain expansion project say the federal energy regulator is repeating mistakes that led the Federal Court of Appeal to quash the NEB’s and Ottawa government’s approval of the major west coast oil pipeline in May 2016…
Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley wants Canadian government to boost oil and tar sands bitumen shipments by rail, report by CBC News, Oct 23, 2018
* CN Rail vies for crude oil-hauling crown over CP Rail rival, by Frederic Tomesco, Bloomberg News, Oct 24, 2018 Canadian National Railway expects to set a record for crude-by-rail shipments next year as it vies with Canadian Pacific Railway to dominate a booming market for the alternative to pipelines. CN’s crude oil shipments in 2019 will probably surpass the 130,000-carload mark set in 2014, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest said on October 24 after the company reported third-quarter earnings. That would allow the carrier to vault ahead of CP Rail, whose CEO said last week he’s aiming to reach as many as 120,000 carloads…
* CP Rail head sees boom-time oil shipments amid pipeline pinch, by Frederic Tomesco, Bloomberg News, Oct 19, 2018 … Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. may match or exceed its record 2014 pace of 110,000 crude carloads next year as a pipeline crunch stokes demand for shipping by train, Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel said late Thursday in an interview from Calgary, where the company is based… An average North American tank car holds about 700 barrels of crude, according to Bloomberg Intelligence railroad analyst Lee Klaskow. That would put CP Rail’s most optimistic outlook for next year at a rate of about 230,000 barrels a day, the equivalent of 8.5 percent of last year’s daily average production from the oil sands…
Canadian government writes off $6.3 billion in handouts (‘loans’) to large companies, including $2.6 billion given to Chrysler as part of the $14 billion auto industry bailout in 2009, The Canadian Press, Oct 22, 2018
… The Liberals wrote off some $3 billion in loans in fiscal 2015-16 and 2016-17. They have jumped past that mark in fiscal year 2017-2018…
[GM and Chrysler together received about $13.7 billion in government support in 2009, during the global economic meltdown, but so far only about $3.7 billion has been recovered. (CBC News, June 26, 2018)]
Ontario freezes minimum wage until 2020 with minimal increases after that, cuts unpaid sick time for vulnerable, non-union workers, report by CBC News, Oct 23, 2018
* How the rights of workers in Ontario will change if Bill 47 is passed, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Oct. 26, 2018 [Freezing of the minimum wage at $14 per hour and elimination of a few paid sick days annually are two of the regressive moves in Bill 47.] * Ottawa unlikely to rescue Ontario’s basic income pilot project, by Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star, Oct. 23, 2018 … The basic income pilot project was launched by the former Liberal government in Ontario in 2017 and provides $1,400 a month, no-strings-attached for people living in poverty. Those with disabilities receive an additional $500 a month. Some 4,000 people in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay are participating in the program… Last week, more than 100 Canadian CEO joined together to urge Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod to reverse the decision to cut short the trial. “We see a guaranteed basic income as a business-friendly approach to address the increasing financial precarity of our citizens and revitalize the economy,” the executives said in their letter…
* Ontario government scraps basic income pilot project, limits welfare increase to 1.5 per cent, by Rob Ferguson and Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star, July 31, 2018
* Cancellation of Ontario’s basic income project sparks global outrage, by Laurie Monsebraaten, social justice reporter, Toronto Star, Sept 18, 2018
Canadian gov’t announces Lockheed Martin in partnership with Irving Shipbuilding will construct 15 new warships, costing $60 billion-and-counting, by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen (Postmedia), Oct 19, 2018 [Antiwar opposition to militarization in Canada has greatly declined due to the caustic influence of anti-Russia propaganda as well as confusion and disarray over the war in Syria and Canada’s front-line role in the new cold war.]
Canada’s top spy agency tells members of Parliament that threats to 2019 federal election are increasing ‘faster than we expected’, by Stuart Thompson, National Post, Oct 18, 2018 [Similar scare stories underlie the recent move by Facebook to censor accounts addressing current events, including some dedicated to police accountability for racial bias and violence.]
First Nations claim treachery as Canada and U.S. pursue talks to renew 60-year old Columbia River Treaty, by Troy Sebastian, The National Observer, Oct 18, 2018
Related: U.S. negotiators hold town hall meeting in Portland, Oregon discussing renewal of Columbia River Treaty, report published by Columbia Basin Bulletin, Sept 14, 2018
The Canadian government has fought for years to maintain solitary confinement (torture) in its prisons, now it is responding to critics with its Bill C-83, report by CTV News, Oct 16, 2018
Related: Rights groups challenge Canada’s shift in prison solitary confinement (torture) with its Bill C-83, statement by BC Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Civil Liberties Association and John Howard Society of Canada, October 16, 2018 … “[The federal government’s proposed Bill C-83] shows that this government knows that the current system of solitary confinement cannot continue. The question is whether this bill meets the constitutional standard,” the BC Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Civil Liberties Association and John Howard Society of Canada said in a joint statement… The introduction [of Bill C-83] comes just one month before the appeal hearings of challenges to the federal administrative segregation regime. These challenges were filed by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the BC Civil Liberties Association and John Howard Society of Canada…
Global warming and destruction of land and waters by gas fracking be damned: Three liquefied natural gas projects inch towards construction in Canada–two in BC one in NS, report in National Post, Oct 16, 2018
Saskatchewan gave no public warnings about pollution that was ‘off the charts’, by Robert Cribb (Toronto Star), Patti Sonntag and Michael Wrobel (Institute for Investigative Journalism, Concordia University), and P.W. Elliott (University of Regina), published in The National Observer, Oct 16, 2018, in the Toronto Star, Oct 16, 2018, and by Global News, Oct 16, 2018 (includes television report by Carolyn Jarvis of Global News)
Background: The Price of Oil, an ongoing, investigative project on toxic pollution by the oil and gas industries in Canada, featuring 30 articles, compiled here in The National Observer from October 2017 to the present
BC NDP government’s draft internal order to limit public dissent on party positions, by Rob Shaw, conservative columnist, Vancouver Sun, Oct 14, 2018 A draft of an internal NDP code of conduct, obtained by Postmedia News, shows it would require members of the party’s provincial executive and committees to sign non-disclosure agreements that forbid them from publicly disagreeing with party or government policies…
BC gov’t watches as Greyhound abandons bus service to small towns in the province, hopes that small, private operators will step in, by Susan Lazaruk, Vancouver Sun, Oct 14, 2018 [Greyhound bus lines is pulling out of service in British Columbia on October 31, leaving working class travelers stranded for travel options and repeating the earlier disappearance of passenger rail travel in Canada outside the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal triangle. It is yet another example of federal, provincial and municipal governments enabling the fossil fuel industry and the global warming emergency and reminds that ‘public transit’ is only valued to the extent it feeds urban sprawl.]
Police investigate fire started at Toronto hotel housing refugees, story on CBC Radio One‘s ‘As It Happens’ program, Oct 11, 2018 and report in Toronto Star, Oct 13, 2018 [The Radisson Hotel in north-eastern Toronto houses refugee claimants. It has been used as a social media backdrop by ultra-right activist and Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy and is featured in an online video expressing anti-refugee sentiment, produced by a group [unnamed by CBC] that describes itself as “dedicated to promoting Nationalism and exposing the idiocy of the Left.” Municipal political leaders have been silent until pressed by journalists.]
High school brawl on Manitoulin Island in Ontario exposes an ugly divide between Indigenous community and dominant society, by Jennifer Yang, identity and inequality reporter, Toronto Star, Oct. 13, 2018
… For Manitoulin Secondary School parent Lisa Lanktree, a white woman with adopted children from Wasauksing First Nation, the brawl is a wake-up call — not just for school officials but policy-makers everywhere, from the local Rainbow District School Board to the Ontario legislature. She says the brawl underscores the stark need for the updated sex-ed and Indigenous curriculums recently cancelled by the provincial government — education that would be particularly impactful in northern schools like MSS, which have limited access to sexual health resources and large Indigenous populations. “The beginning of the fight started over children having a lack of knowledge about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and sex and how to have relationships,” Lanktree said. “But the further escalation was due to a lack of understanding between two different cultures and race tensions…”
Canada’s Supreme Court rules Ottawa has no duty to consult with Indigenous people before drafting laws, CBC News, Oct 11, 2018
… In its 7-2 decision, the top court has ruled against the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Alberta, which had argued that two omnibus budget bills introduced by the former Conservative federal government in 2012 affected its constitutionally protected treaty rights because they amended regulatory protections for waterways and the environment. Those amendments, the First Nation argued, reduced government oversight of lands and waters and thus threatened its established right to hunt, trap and fish on their traditional territory. These rights were guaranteed by the Crown when it signed Treaty 8 in 1899, and were enshrined as constitutional rights after the passage of the Constitution Act of 1982.The First Nation argued it should have been consulted by the government before it drafted the legislation and before it was tabled in Parliament…
How Canada can work on trade with China—without angering America, commentary by Edward Greenspon and Kevin Lynch, Maclean’s Magazine, Oct 11, 2018 The Canadian government must diversify its economy, and China is the obvious target. But there are risks that come with such a partnership (Edward Greenspon is president and CEO of the Public Policy Forum (PPF) and a former editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail. Kevin Lynch is vice-chair of BMO Financial Group and the former clerk of the privy council under Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They are co-chairs of PPF’s Consultative Forum on China.)
… China’s share of global growth is greater than that of Europe and the Americas combined. Canada can only provide the job creation and rising incomes of past generations by focussing trade efforts on economies growing faster than ours. The new Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership are positive steps, but China’s scale and continued growth makes it the inescapable centrepiece of any credible diversification effort. Without China, Canada is bound to fail on truly diversifying its economy. So how can we square that math with the United States—Mexico—Canada Agreement’s pesky new Clause 32.10, which puts a practical kibosh on Canada’s sovereign choice to pursue a comprehensive free trade agreement with China?
… While America’s rhetoric on China is largely antagonistic, the U.S. is actually twice as active as Canada in the Chinese market, with 8.4 per cent of its total exports going there compared to our 4.3 per cent. Applying the U.S. standard, we still have about $25 billion of export growth space to go—a figure roughly equivalent to our current sales to Japan, India and South Korea combined…
* Globe and Mail daily continues its agitation to ban China’s Huawei telecommunications company from investing in 5G technology in Canada. Article by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, senior writers, Globe and Mail, Oct 11, 2018 Two influential members of the U.S. Senate select intelligence committee have written Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to bar Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei from Canada’s next-generation 5G mobile network on the grounds the Shenzhen-based firm represents a significant security risk…
* How Canada can break its dependence on the United States, by Thomas Walkom, national affairs columnist, Toronto Star, Oct 11, 2018
Canada’s ally and arms client Saudi Arabia kidnaps and disappears journalist Jamil Khashoggi from its embassy in Istanbul. Full news and analysis on the ‘World news’ page of A Socialist In Canada, Oct 11, 2018
Background: Canada’s checkered history of arms sales to human rights violators, by David Webster, associate professor of History at Bishop’s University (Quebec), published in The Conversation, Feb 13, 2018
Canada’s stated goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are well below what’s needed to stop catastrophic climate change, by Mia Rabson, Canadian Press, Oct 9, 2018 Canada would have to cut its emissions almost in half over the next 12 years to meet the stiffer targets dozens of international climate change experts say is required to prevent catastrophic results from global warming. In its latest, and dire, report on the state of the world’s climate issued on October 8, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there will be irreversible changes and the entire loss of some ecosystems if the world doesn’t take immediate and intensive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions far more than is occurring now…
Are we watching a real-time extinction of southern resident killer whales?, by Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun, Oct 6, 2018 The world is watching as biologists and conservationists seek to bring the 74 remaining Pacific northwest orca whales back from the brink or witness their extinction
‘World class’ marine spill response on Canada’s west coast? Not, by Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail, Oct 7, 2018 [As the Canadian government presses for the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion from Alberta to the Pacific coast, it is assuring residents of British Columbia that it is building a “world class” regime to respond to oil spills. But a court case by the city of Vancouver seeking fines and cleanup costs for a ship’s fuel spill in Vancouver harbour in April 2015 shows the government’s regulations are toothless.]
Background: New headaches for tar sands pipeline proponents as oil fouls Vancouver harbour, by Roger Annis, published in A Socialist In Canada, April 11, 2015
Over-the-top agitation for regime change in Venezuela by Toronto Star columnist Tony Burman, column by Tony Burman, foreign affairs columnist, Toronto Star, Oct 5, 2018 This is a moment of historic peril in Latin America. In Venezuela, a corrupt failed state accused of crimes against humanity is wreaking havoc…
[In this latest column in the Toronto Star, Tony Burman warns that loss of human life in Venezuela due to economic and political upheaval could approach the loss of life during the Rwanda genocide in 1994 and the six-year long regime change war in Syria. Referring to Venezuela’s elected president as a “dictator”, Burman laments that Canada seems “unable to do much about” the situation in the country “except to look on helplessly”. Burman wrote the following in a column three weeks ago about the situation in Idlib province in northwest Syria: “An imminent battle is shaping up in the northwestern corner of Syria that may one day live in infamy. The outlook is catastrophic. Not only do UN officials fear it will lead to the worst loss of life this century, it will also likely mark a bloody and inconclusive end to Syria’s devastating civil war — with dictator Bashar Assad still clinging to power…” Tony Burman had a 35 year-long career as an editor and producer at Canada’s state-run news and infotainment network the CBC. Following his retirement there in 2008, he worked as a director at Al-Jazeera. His writings are what passes for journalism these days in Canada in this age of the new cold war against Russia and China, even in ‘liberal’ outlets such as the Toronto Star.]
The pillow, the sword and the pipeline: The scoop that unraveled Energy East’s Alberta bitumen pipeline proposal, by Mike De Souza, The National Observer, Sept 14, 2017
BC Premier John Horgan considers ways to proceed with ‘LNG Canada’ project in Kitimat without an approval vote in the Legislature, by Rob Shaw, Vancouver Sun, Oct 2, 2018
[The NDP government in British Columbia is a minority government. In order to govern, it depends on support from the three elected Green Party members of the BC Legislature. The Greens have offered conditional support to the massive, $40 billion-plus ‘LNG Canada’ project announced on October 3, 2018, provided the government finds ways to legislate substantial greenhouse gas emissions in other areas of the provincial economy as part of its yet-to-be-announced ‘climate action plan’. The Globe and Mail‘s Justine Hunter reports on October 3, 2018 (subcriber only article):
… Today, after “hundreds of hours” of meetings between the Greens and the NDP – including regular sessions between Mr. Weaver and Environment Minister George Heyman – the Green leader believes the clean-growth strategy [sic] that is now being finalized can reach the province’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade even with LNG Canada in production…
“George Heyman and I are rising to the challenge,” Mr. Weaver said in an interview. “I see a pathway to supporting an exciting plan in the clean-growth strategy.” He said that strategy embodies the Green’s economic agenda: shifting the economy toward a low-carbon future…
[The mainstream ‘environmental’ organizations in British Columbia take a similar stand to the Greens (see the first of the ‘related’ reports here below).]
* British Columbia’s plan for a liquefied natural gas industry is baffling, letter by Keith Wiley to the editor of the Nelson Daily, published on Oct 4, 2018
* LNG Canada is a ‘carbon bomb’ that will blow up B.C.’s climate goals, critics warn, report by CBC News, Oct 3, 2018
[In this CBC News report, the David Suzuki Foundation explains its conditional support to an LNG industry in British Columbia. Director Ian Bruce tells the CBC, “[LNG Canada will emit] more than double all the emissions from all the cars and trucks in Metro Vancouver. BC is going to need the best, most aggressive, world-class climate plan to make up for this additional increase.” Karen Tam Wu, a managing director with the Pembina Institute environmental think-tank, sounds a similar note in the same news report: “That just means we’re going to need to step up and accelerate the rate at which we’re reducing carbon from other parts of our economy in BC.”
[Marc Lee of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives dispels the greenwashing in an interview with CBC Radio One. He is cited in the above-mentioned CBC news article: “This project [LNG Canada] is a carbon bomb. We don’t have the luxury of indulging in building big, new, fossil fuel megaprojects.”
* LNG Canada will blow B.C.’s climate targets, by Wilderness Committee, Oct 2, 2018 Wilderness Committee is condemning provincial and federal subsidies for LNG Canada because the project puts British Columbia’s climate goals effectively out of reach…
* LNG is incompatible with BC’s climate obligations, by Marc Lee, published by Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, July 11, 2018
* The BC NDP’s longstanding advocacy of natural gas fracking and extraction, now on steroids with its LNG advocacy, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Oct 3, 2018
* Canada’s fossil fuel industry hopes the ‘LNG Canada’ project in Kitimat BC is the first of many, Bloomberg News, Oct 3, 2018
Fine print in U.S./Canada/Mexico trade revisions giving U.S. the right to veto Canada-China trade agreements deal is a major setback, commentary by Hugh Stephens, The Globe and Mail, Oct 2, 2018 (subscriber only)
… The most charitable interpretation is that the United States was worried about dumped and subsidized Chinese products finding their way to the U.S. market via Canada or Mexico, like their current concerns with Chinese steel. But there are other, far less draconian measures available to deal with such circumstances. No, this was about containing China, and circumscribing Canadian options.
… These are all possible calculations, but in the end, the reality is that Canada’s push for trade diversification has just taken a major blow.
Related: With its new trade deal, Canada surrenders sovereignty to a bully, commentary by Neil MacDonald, conservative CBC journalist/commentator, CBC News, Oct 1, 2018
Canada’s environmental commissioner says federal government is failing in its duty to protect whales and other ocean mammals, by Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press, Oct 2, 2018 [In its ruling on August 30 rejecting the Canadian government’s approval in November 2016 of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, the Supreme Court of Canada cited the failure of the government and the project to protect the resident, west coast orca whale population. The Pacific northwest orca population is facing extinction due to the pressures of warming ocean waters and rampant industrial and urban expansion along the U.S. and Canadian coastlines. Failure to account for increased oil tanker traffic was a key part of the Supreme Court’s reasoning. Ship strikes kill the whales while ship noise disrupts the whales’ communication and feeding.]
$40 billion ‘LNG Canada’ project in northeast BC signals revival of mega projects, including with support from First Nations, by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, Oct 2, 2018 [The Liberal federal government and its BC NDP government partner-in-environmental-crimes are bulldozing ahead with approval of another fossil fuel megaproject: a liquefied natural gas complex to be built in Kitimat BC, to be fed by increased gas fracking in the BC northeast and a new pipeline to move the gas to Kitimat. The NDP government has promised generous tax relief to the project’s investors.]
* Foreign investors signal wish to proceed with natural gas liquefaction complex in Kitimat, northern British Columbia, including related gas fracking and pipeline, CBC News, Oct 2, 2018
* LNG is incompatible with BC’s climate obligations, by Marc Lee, senior economist at Canadian Council for Policy Alternatives, July 11, 2018 … Annual domestic emissions from two proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in British Columbia would be 9 to 12 million tonnes (Mt) from the proposed ‘LNG Canada’ complex in Kitimat on the north coast and 1 to 1.5 Mt from the proposed ‘Woodfibre’ LNG plant near Vancouver…
* B.C. quietly releases emissions update showing the province will blow 2020 emissions target, by Judith Lavoie, The Narwhal, Jan 12, 2018
[The BC NDP government touts climate-wrecking ‘LNG’ in exactly the same way as did its Liberal Party predecessor. Opposition to LNG has largely been restricted to the First Nations in northeast of the province whose land and waters are already being ruined by gas fracking; ‘LNG’ will boost this despoliation exponentially. The environmental movement in the province focuses on the harm which fossil fuel projects cause to First Nations rights and to land and water, not on the global warming consequences of extracting and burning fossil fuels. Natural gas fracking and liquefaction receive much less attention because gas pipelines are less of an immediate threat to land and waters compared to the transport of crude oil and tar sands bitumen.
[By its own 2007 law, the British Columbia government committed to reducing domestic greenhouse gas emission levels by 40 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050 (an annual reduction by 2050 of some 12.6 Mt. The two approved LNG projects, ‘LNG Canada’ in Kitimat on the north coast and Woodfibre LNG near Vancouver, would increase annual carbon pollution by 10 to 13.5 million tonnes (Mt). The BC government’s carbon emission estimates do not include emissions produced by the burning of the natural gas produced and exported in the province. They also seriously under-estimate the methane leaks associated with natural gas fracking, transport by pipeline and liquefaction.
Newly elected Quebec premier says he’ll invoke a rare constitutional measure in order to legislate a ban on Muslim face covering, by The Canadian Press, Oct 2, 2018 François Legault is making the same threat to invoke the ‘notwithstanding clause’ of the Canadian constitution as made last month by right-wing Ontario Premier Doug Ford to halve the number of municipal electoral districts in the city of Toronto.
Background: Right-wing, anti-immigrant Coalition avenir Québec party sweeps Oct 1 Quebec election, ending 50 years of two-party rule between the Liberal Party and Parti québécois, by Maura Forrest, National Post, Oct 1, 2018 The left-wing Québec solidaire doubled its vote total and tripled its seats won to ten [Full election results are here on CBC.]
Their daughters vanished in British Columbia, now these families are exhausting their savings searching for clues, by Jesse Winter and Jeremy Nutall, Star Metro Vancouver (Toronto Star chain), Oct 2, 2018
… The families of Nicole Bell and Ashley Simpson have kept up their desperate searches because they say police have not. Their daughters are among roughly 2,500 people who have gone missing in B.C. and never been found, most of the cases going back 10 years or more.
Canada-wide, there are approximately 7,000 open cases in which a person has been missing at least three months, a StarMetro-Toronto Star investigation has found. The RCMP says missing persons are an operational priority, especially in B.C. where there are a disproportionate number of people who have disappeared and never been found…
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